On a day the Mets received sobering injury news on left-hander Steven Matz, they also got a positive outing from Seth Lugo in his third career start.
Lugo gave up two runs on five hits in six innings Tuesday night in a 7-4 victory over Miami to help the Mets leapfrog the Marlins in the wild-card race.
LUGO: Gives big start. (AP)
Lugo has averaged just under six innings in his three starts, which means he’ll stay in the rotation.
The Marlins got to Lugo with Christian Yelich’s two-run homer in the first, but the Mets responded for three in their half of the inning on Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run homer and Wilmer Flores’ RBI single.
“It was really big,” manager Terry Collins said of the quick response. “Just getting on the board was important.”
Lugo said the three runs allowed him to look at the rest of the game from a different perspective.
“That was big time,” Lugo said. “It helped me with my confidence. I looked at it as a 0-0 ball game.”
Lugo worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings and retired the last seven hitters he faced.
With Matz injured and Jacob deGrom needing to be skipped for rest, Lugo has been terrific with three straight strong starts. Lugo left his previous start with a cramp in his right calf, but showed no ill-effects. He is on schedule to pitch Sunday against the Nationals.
I chose Lugo as the main storyline because of the Mets’ current pitching situations. The two others were the resurgence of Curtis Granderson and Hansel Robles’ positive appearance.
GRANDERSON SHOWS A PULSE: Granderson hit for Lugo in the sixth and homered, and also homered in the seventh. He became the third Met to hit two homers in a game he did not start. The others were Scott Hairston in 2011 and Hawk Taylor in 1964.
Granderson hasn’t had a good season according to his expectations but still has 22 homers with 38 RBI, not a good ratio.
If Granderson is getting on track, it will give Collins leverage as he sorts out his outfield alignment down the stretch. Yoenis Cespedes’ strained right quad limits him to playing only left field and Jay Bruce – despite a double Tuesday – continues to struggle.
Cespedes will need a rest eventually.
Things will get tighter when Michael Conforto is brought up from Triple-A Las Vegas.
ROBLES MUCH BETTER: Robles was superb in June and July, but gave up 15 runs in 13 innings this month before giving the Mets two strong innings Tuesday.
Robles gave up one hit in two scoreless innings for a positive sign the Mets desperately needed. Robles in perhaps their most versatile reliever, and by going two innings, it enabled Collins to avoid using the overworked Addison Reed.
EXTRA INNINGS: With the victory, Collins had to use Jeurys Familia when the Marlins got to Jim Henderson for two runs in the ninth. … Jose Reyes continued to rake with his second four-hit game of the month. Reyes, along with Cabrera (who had two hits) are forming a formidable 1-2 combination at the top of the order. … With the victory, the Mets moved to four games over .500, their best record since they were 56-52 after beating the Yankees, Aug. 4. … Bartolo Colon starts against David Phelps Wednesday night.
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