New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer allowed four hits and three runs over six innings to earn his first win of 2023 on Thursday in Miami. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, March 30 (UPI) -- Thursday's Miami Marlins and New York Mets started as a duel between ace pitchers Max Scherzer and Sandy Alcantara. The Mets ended the night by holding off a Marlins rally to secure their first win of 2023.
Scherzer allowed four hits and three runs in the 5-3 triumph at loanDepot park in Miami. Alcantara allowed three hits and three runs.
"It just felt good to get out there and play a game you are either going to win or lose," said Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo, who drove in three runs.
"It meant something. It was exciting to get back out there."
Nimmo gave the Mets a 1-0 edge with a third-inning RBI sacrifice fly. That stood as the only run through the first five innings. The Mets added two more in the sixth. The Marlins then tied the score in the bottom of the inning, but did not score again.
The Mets plated two more scores in the seventh and used their bullpen to silence the Marlins offense down the stretch as a large group of fans cheered on the road team.
"It felt like a home game," Nimmo said. "There were a lot of 'let's go Mets' chants."
Designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach scored the game's first run on Nimmo's third-inning sacrifice fly. Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor doubled the advantage with another RBI sacrifice fly to center in the top of the sixth.
Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil followed with a single two at-bats later. Mets outfielder Starling Marte scored on that play for a 3-0 Mets edge.
Alcantara was then replaced by relief pitcher Andrew Nardi, but the Marlins roared back into the game in the bottom of the inning.
Catcher Jacob Stallings reached base with a leadoff double to spark the rally. Second baseman Luis Arraez followed with a double to the right field fence, resulting in the Marlins' first run.
Scherzer struck out Marlins third baseman Jean Segura in the next exchange. Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper clubbed a two-run, 422-foot homer over the right field fence two pitches later to tie the score.
The Mets answered in the top of the seventh. Marlins relief pitcher Tanner Scott forced a ground out from pinch hitter Tommy Pham to start the half inning.
Third baseman Eduardo Escobar singled to left in the next at-bat. Scott then issued a walk to Mets catcher Omar Narvaez.
Nimmo followed with a line drive double to right center field. Narvaez and Escobar each scored on that play for the game's final runs.
Mets relief pitchers Drew Smith, Brooks Raley, David Robertson combined to allow just one hit and no runs over the final three innings.
Marte and McNeil collected two hits apiece for the Mets. Arraez went 2 for 4 for the Marlins.
"We just kind of beat ourselves today with walks," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker told reporters. "Three of their runs scored were from walks. It was a little uncharacteristic letting free passes on board.
"That's kinda what happened."
The Marlins will host the Mets in the second game of the four-game series at 6:40 p.m. EDT Friday at loanDepot park.