Citi Field —The Mets seemed to be cruising for seven innings, but in the blink of an eye, the game was tied and won.
The Mets’ pen blew a three-run lead, the recently called-up catcher Patrick Mazeika smashed a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to secure a 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners in front of the announced crowd of 37,140 at Citi Field.
After rain delayed the start of the game by one hour and eight minutes, Chris Bassitt wasn’t at his sharpest. He had problems with his control, limiting the Mariners (15-19) to just one run across 5 ²/₃ innings.
Seth Lugo relieved Bassitt in the sixth and got him out of a jam, but then created another in the seventh inning allowing a pair of one-out singles.
“I think we can say that one was over 60 mph off the bat and over six feet,” Mazeika said with a grin. “Obviously it felt really good. Big moment, big team win. It was an electric crowd too, so it was overall a great night.”
Mariners OF Jesse Winker tied the score 4-4 in the top of the seventh with a three-run homer off reliever Chasen Shreve, but Mazeika quickly gave the Mets (23-12) their lead back. He turned on a 97+ fastball from Andres Muñoz that landed in the right-field seating section.
Winker was booed throughout the game and waved to the crowd after rounding the bases on his home run — part of a back-and-forth with Citi Field fans that dates back to his days with Cincinnati.
Mazeika, who joined the NY Mets on Friday from Triple-A after James McCann went on the injured list, had a tough time behind the plate, struggling to get on the same page with starter Chris Bassitt, who was catching for the first time but made up for all the struggles with one swing.
“That was a great moment for him, let alone the team,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Right fielder Starling Marte had a great night, he bolstered the Mets’ offense by going 3-for-4 with three runs and a stolen base, falling a home run short of the cycle. He scored on Francisco Lindor’s single in the first inning, Lindor’s sacrifice fly in the third inning and Pete Alonso’s double in the fifth putting NY up 4-0.
The Mets won a pair of challenges in the first inning: one in the top of the inning confirming that Bassitt had picked off Eugenio Suarez at second base with the bases loaded to end the frame and another in the bottom where Marte safely dove into third base with a triple.
“It was a little bit fun, but at the same time, I gotta stay locked in to get the three outs because we needed this win,” Diaz said. “We want to win every series, so today was a big game for us.”
Mariners right-hander George Kirby, a Rye, N.Y., native who was making his second MLB career start after getting called up last weekend, was welcomed by a very loud cheering section of family and friends in attendance. While he didn’t get much help from his fielders, the Mets also forced him to throw 89 pitches to get through four innings. Kirby scattered three hits and a walk and gave up three runs, though only one was earned.
Bassitt carried a shutout into the sixth slumping Francisco Lindo’s drive in two runs for the Mets and improving to 11-1 following the loss. The only time they dropped consecutive games this season was April 10-11.
“Felt great. Anytime you can contribute to a win, that’s all I’m trying to do,” Mazeika said. “This one’s pretty special right now.”
The Mets had help in their run production. Suárez’s error at third base helped New York score two unearned runs in the third on sacrifice flies by Lindor and McNeil.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. dropped Marte’s routine fly in the fifth before throwing to second for a force out on the play though it still might have cost the Mariners, because of Marte’s lightening speed running all the way from first to score on Pete Alonso’s two-out double.
Souza’s soft RBI single with two outs in the sixth cut it to 4-1 and chased Bassitt, who had 8K’s.
The Seattle Mariners have lost 13 of 17.
Adam Ottavino (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, retiring Ty France with a runner on third to end the inning before Edwin Diaz struck out the 3-4-5 batters in the ninth against his former team — ending the game by striking out Winker with 100 mph fastball.
“That’s why you get up in the morning, why you never know what the game’s got in store for you,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “That was a great moment for him, let alone the team. He ambushed a guy throwing 100 mph. We needed it.”
Showalter mentioned before the game how excited he was that Shakira would be at Citi Field. The singer posed for photos outside the clubhouse with Showalter and several Mets players.
Top prospect George Kirby gave up three runs — one earned — and three hits over four innings in his second big league start for the Mariners. Kirby, who grew up a Bronx Bomber fan in suburban Rye about 22 miles north of Citi Field, had a loud section of supporters who stayed on their feet approximately 20 rows up from the Seattle dugout on the third base side.
“It was awesome,” Kirby said. “It looked like it was over 100 people that were cheering for me, which was pretty sweet.”
Kirby was drafted by the Mets out of high school in the 32nd round even though he was fully committed to college at Elon in North Carolina. He called it a “courtesy pick.”
“I was not going to pro ball,” he said. “They gave me a nice glass plaque. I have it still in my house. I was not interested in going anywhere at the time.”
Kirby said the only Mets game he ever attended was the finale at the old Shea Stadium in 2008 and he came away with some “cool, like, replica stadium pieces.”
“Did not like the Mets very much,” he said.
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (3-3, 4.22 ERA) pitches Sunday afternoon when Seattle wraps up its first visit to Citi Field with the rubber match of the three-game series. RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-1, 3.19) starts for the Mets, who are 9-0-1 in series this season.