Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso won’t have to wait long to find out if their homers in the midst of the New York Mets’ biggest inning of the season were a sign of things to come.
The Mets will look to build on their Friday night offensive outburst when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a single-admission doubleheader Saturday.
Right-handers Marcus Stroman (6-6, 2.60 ERA) and Tylor Megill (0-0, 3.77) are scheduled to start, in that order, for the Mets. The Pirates are expected to counter with left-hander Tyler Anderson (4-8, 4.39) in the opener and rookie right-hander Max Kranick (1-0, 0.00) in the nightcap.
The doubleheader includes the makeup of a game rained out Thursday.
The Mets rode a 10-run sixth inning — during which Alonso hit a three-run homer and Lindor swatted his third career grand slam — to a 13-4 victory Friday in the series opener.
Alonso and Lindor combining to key the outburst was a particularly encouraging development for New York, which has scored 316 runs this season, ahead of only the Pirates’ 305.
Alonso’s homer was his 16th of the year but just his second at home. Lindor has six homers and 23 RBIs in his last 38 games after collecting just four homers and 11 RBIs in his first 45 games.
“I feel that the guys are going to swing the bats like this,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of the team. “Because it hasn’t been that way to this point in this season doesn’t mean it’s not going to be like that.”
The Pirates, who have the third-worst record in the majors at 32-55, hope to see more flashes of potential from their youngsters Saturday.
The final two runs of Friday’s loss were driven in by rookies Rodolfo Castro, whose pinch-hit homer in the seventh was the first hit of his career, and red-hot first baseman John Nogowski, who went 3-for-4 with a ninth-inning RBI single.
Nogowski is 10-for-16 (.625) in his first four games with Pittsburgh.
The biggest splash this season by a Pirates player might have been made June 27 by Kranick, who tossed five perfect innings in his big league debut and earned the win as Pittsburgh beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2. Kranick threw just 50 pitches but exited after a 64-minute rain delay.
He returned to the minors the next day, but he will be recalled Saturday to serve as the 27th man for the doubleheader.
“It was very impressive,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said following Kranick’s debut. “It was unfortunate that the rain stopped him.”
Stroman didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start, when he gave up five runs (three earned) over five innings as the Mets beat the New York Yankees 10-5 on Sunday in the opener of a doubleheader. He is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Pirates.
Megill made his third big league start Monday, when he allowed one run over five innings as the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2. He has never opposed the Pirates.
Anderson earned the win Sunday when he gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings as the Pirates beat the Brewers 2-0. He is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media