Brandon Nimmo keys New York Mets' comeback win over Chicago Cubs

Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo celebrates with teammates after he scores a run in the 7th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York City on June 30, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo celebrates with teammates after he scores a run in the 7th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York City on June 30, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- The first game between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs since last year's National League Championship Series concluded with a familiar sight: Mets closer Jeurys Familia beginning an emphatic celebration by raising his arms to the sky.

But the Mets won the NLCS rematch thanks in large part to a 23-year-old rookie outfielder who was about 1,000 miles away from Wrigley Field when New York clinched the pennant.


Brandon Nimmo keyed a three-run rally in the seventh inning Thursday night as the Mets snapped a four-game losing streak by coming back to edge the Cubs 4-3 at Citi Field.

Nimmo, who was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday and played in his fifth big league game Thursday night, finished last season with Las Vegas and returned to his native Wyoming for the playoffs, when the Mets swept the Cubs to reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.

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"I was watching at home and rooting them on," said a grinning Nimmo, who had whipped cream in his hair and dripping down the side of his face following a post-game celebration with teammates. "It's pretty amazing to now be on the field."


He was much more than a passive participant Thursday, when the Mets entered the seventh inning trailing 3-1. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud's one-out single chased Cubs right-hander John Lackey after which pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza -- who hadn't reached base in his previous 12 plate appearances -- worked an eight-pitch walk against right-hander Joel Peralta (1-1).

Nimmo then won a nine-pitch at-bat, during which he fouled off three two-strike pitches, by singling to center to score d'Arnaud. Nimmo raced to second when centerfielder Albert Almora threw to third trying to get De Aza.

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"Peralta can be really, really tough with the split," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Fouled off some good pitches, finally got something he could handle. I was very impressed."

With the infield drawn in, right-hander Pedro Strop got Neil Walker to hit a chopper to second. But instead of throwing home in hopes of cutting to cut down De Aza, Javier Baez fired to third to try and get Nimmo.

"It's just an awkward spot that we can't do anything with it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It was just one of those nights."

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Baez's throw sailed past Kris Bryant as an ebullient Nimmo got up and sprinted home with the tie-breaking run.

"I was absolutely ecstatic," Nimmo said. "It is hard to put into words, because this is just something I've dreamed about ever since I was a kid. Just to be able to help the team somehow and be able to come up huge -- it feels good to contribute. That's just where I'm at right now. I'm just ecstatic that it helped us kind of get going. And I was even more happy when I crossed the plate."

Nimmo and the Mets (41-37) couldn't truly celebrate until surviving a pair of tightrope acts in the final two innings. In the eighth, right-hander Addison Reed allowed a hit, a walk and struck out two before left-hander Jerry Blevins wriggled out of the jam by retiring pinch-hitter Jason Heyward on a broken-bat comebacker.

Familia notched his 27th save in as many tries, but only after getting himself into a bases-loaded jam. Pinch-hitter Miguel Montero drew a leadoff walk and pinch-runner Travis Wood went to third on Ben Zobrist's double to right.


Familia struck out Bryant before intentionally walking Anthony Rizzo to load the bases. The Mets' right-hander whiffed Willson Contreras and ended the game by getting Baez to pop out to first.

"We had that opportunity," Maddon said "Just to move the baseball, that would have been wonderful."

Familia's Houdini act preserved the win for Erik Goeddel (1-0), who threw 1 2/3 perfect innings of relief.

"To come back after second and third and nobody out -- unbelievable job," Collins said.

The Cubs (51-27) jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a two-run homer by Bryant in the first and a solo shot by Baez in the sixth. Yoenis Cespedes crushed a 466-foot homer into the third deck in left field to begin the Mets' comeback in the sixth.

Mets left-hander Steven Matz allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out six over 5 1/3 innings. Lackey allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings.

NOTES: A moment of silence was held for ex-Met and Cub Jim Hickman, who died Saturday, and the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attack in Istanbul. ... The Mets recalled RHP Seth Lugo from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned LHP Sean Gilmartin to the same affiliate. Lugo provides the Mets some insurance in case LHP Steven Matz or RHP Noah Syndergaard, each of whom is pitching through bone spurs, exits early during the Cubs series. ... Mets RF Curtis Granderson (calf) was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game. ... Cubs INF Tommy La Stella (hamstring) went 1-for-4 for Triple-A Iowa and is 4-for-10 with a homer and three RBIs through three rehab games. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a fifth-inning double.


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