MIAMI (AP)Brandon Nimmo homered, doubled and walked twice to help the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 9-3 and maintain their slim lead atop the NL East on Sunday.
Tomas Nido had three hits and drove in three runs for the Mets, who fell out of the lead for the first time since April 11 following the series opening loss Friday. They retook the top spot by a half game with their victory Saturday and defending World Series champion Atlanta’s loss at Seattle.
”Coming away with a series win, we’ve been pretty good at that most of the year,” Nimmo said. ”It’s important to us.”
New York All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer was ejected by second base umpire Chad Fairchild after Nimmo had a triple negated in the first at-bat of the game. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is currently on the injured list but accompanied the Mets to their series in Miami.
Nimmo reached third when his drive to left-center rolled to the warning track. But Nimmo was ruled to return to second after umpires determined the ball temporarily got lodged under the fence. The Mets unsuccessfully appealed and Nimmo was credited with a ground rule double.
”There’s no room out there for the ball to lodge,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. ”It was an important 90 feet. I’m glad it didn’t end up hurting us.”
Taijuan Walker (11-4) won his fourth decision against the Marlins this season, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. The right-hander, who has dealt with a blister issue lately, scattered five hits and struck out 10.
”It was there, that’s why I didn’t throw too many splitters,” Walker said of his blister concern. ”I could feel it started to creep up a little bit. I really worked the fastball a lot. It was coming out of my hand good.”
Jeff McNeil had three hits and Eduardo Escobar hit his 18th homer for New York, which improved to 46-22 against the NL East.
Miami’s Brian Anderson homered twice. It was Anderson’s third career multi-homer game.
The Mets struck quickly against Marlins starter Jesus Luzardo on Nimmo’s three-run blast in the second. Nimmo drove Luzardo’s change-up into the seats in right-center for his 14th homer.
McNeil’s run-scoring single in the third and a fielder’s choice RBI by Pete Alonso in the fourth made it 5-0. Nido padded New York’s lead with a two-RBI double in the fifth.
Anderson hit his seventh homer, a leadoff shot off Walker in the fourth, then went deep against Seth Lugo with a two-run blast in the eighth that reduced the deficit to 7-3.
Solo shots from Escobar and Nido in the ninth helped the Mets regain their six-run advantage. Nido got the friendly silent treatment from teammates when he reached the dugout after hitting his homer of the season.
”It took me almost the first year so it was warranted,” said a smiling Nido. ”I’ve been working hard the whole year with little things in terms of your swing. You just have to trust the process.”
Luzardo (3-7) was lifted after 3 1/3 innings. The left-hander gave up five runs, six hits, walked three and struck out three. He also hit two batters, ending a streak of four consecutive starts of at least six innings.
”They really make you work,” Luzardo said. ”They foul off all the pitches that you feel like are good pitches and then they’re not really chasing much.”
FIRST FOR NIMMO
For a leadoff hitter, Nimmo doesn’t fit the profile of base stealer. In fact, Nimmo’s swipe of second in the fifth was his first of the season.
”My goal this year has been to be on the field every day to help the guys try and win in whatever way I can,” Nimmo said. ”I know stolen bases are a part of that but the guys that I have hitting behind me, I can score from first base.”
VIENTOS GETS THE CALL
Mark Vientos went 0-for-5 in his major league debut for the Mets. The 22-year-old Vientos, who had 24 home runs at Triple-A Syracuse this season, nearly had a memorable first hit when his drive was caught in front of the right-field wall to end the third.
In commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Mets wore caps with insignias representing New York first responder departments. The caps featured were the city’s police and fire departments as well as Port Authority Police and departments of sanitation and correction.
The Marlins had their fourth Bark in the Park promotion of the season. The upper deck section at loanDepot Park was opened for spectators and their pet dogs.
Mets: INF Luis Guillorme (groin strain) could be activated in the next couple of days. Guillorme has appeared in three rehab games at Triple-A Syracuse since Sept. 6.
Mets: RHP Chris Bassitt (13-7, 3.24) will start the opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
Marlins: LHP Trevor Rogers (4-11, 5.51) will start the first game of a home split doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on Monday and LHP Braxton Garrett (2-6, 3.67) will start the second game.