MIAMI — Jorge Soler’s solo home run off left-hander David Peterson in the second inning and Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s homer in the eighth were all the Miami Marlins needed to defeat the Mets and even up the season-opening series 1-1.
The Mets lost 2-1 on Friday night at LoanDepot park, failing to get the big hit they needed. Peterson (0-1) made his first start of the season and had some mixed results, allowing only one run on eight hits, walking one and striking out five over five innings. Peterson was the lucky recipient of some excellent defense behind him and also effectively pitched himself out of a few jams.
“Peterson gave us a chance,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m proud of him for battling through some situations, some of them self-created.”
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo (1-0) flummoxed the Mets through 5 2/3 innings, allowing only two hits, striking out five and walking four. Luzardo didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth inning and it looked as though the walks were going to haunt him in the sixth, but the Miami bullpen did its job to secure the win.
“They’re a really good pitching staff from top to bottom,” Showalter said.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. homered off John Curtiss to put the Mets down 2-0 in the eighth, pushing the game out of reach. Pete Alonso homered off of his former University of Florida teammate A.J. Puk to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning, but Puk retired the next two hitters to record the save.
Alonso was able to take advantage of his knowledge of Puk’s pitching to put the Mets on the board. He teed off on the first pitch he saw — a 95-MPH fastball right over the middle of the plate — and drove it into the right field stands.
“I think I’ve had at least like 83 at-bats off of him from scrimmages,” Alonso said. “It’s a lot of at-bats over three years, so I’m pretty familiar with the stuff he had.”
The best chance for the visitors came in the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Marlins went to the bullpen, replacing Luzardo with JT Chargois. Alonso took one deep, but not deep enough, flying out to center field to stop the two-out rally before it started.
“He hit the ball hard in some situations,” Showalter said. “He just couldn’t find the hole or the gap.”
There were a lot of almosts for the Mets in this game. Daniel Vogelbach’s pinch-hit double-off Dylan Floro gave the Mets another chance in the eighth. Tim Locastro was inserted as a pinch-runner but never got the opportunity to steal a base. Soler continued his torment of the Mets with a fantastic inning-ending catch in right field.
In the first inning, Garrett Cooper’s two-out fly ball down the right field line was misplayed by Starling Marte. It was ruled a triple and put a runner at third. Peterson then got Chisholm to ground out to end the inning.
After giving up a leadoff home run to Soler in the second to put the Mets down 1-0, Yuli Gurriel and Nick Fortes took back-to-back singles off Peterson with one out, but the lefty struck out the next two hitters to get out of the inning.
“It’s a lot easier to pitch when you’re throwing a lot of strikes,” Peterson said. “You get into the season and now it’s time to really polish that stuff and go after it. It was good, I think I maybe fell behind a little too much but I was able to get some contact and get back in some at-bats.”
Again in the third, Peterson had to pitch around Cooper, who singled with one out. But a strikeout to Chisholm and a leaping grab by Francisco Lindor to rob Soler of a hit got Peterson out of the fourth inning. The Mets had Tommy Hunter warming up in the fifth after Peterson put two on with none out. But another fantastic defensive play helped get the Mets out of the inning.
Cooper, who homered off Max Scherzer the night prior, sent a single past Pete Alonso. Jeff McNeil slid to the ball in time to make the stop and get Jon Berti at home for the second out.
“That was sick,” Alonso said. “That was a sick play. The ball tips off my glove and if that ball squirts away in the outfield then that’s another run. For him to have that amount of baseball instincts and pick the ball up and make that play, that was excellent. That was huge for us.”
Alonso also turned a double play earlier in the game and Brandon Nimmo had a sliding catch in center field. Defensively, the Mets did everything they could to keep themselves in the game.
“The defense was outstanding,” Peterson said. “It’s nice to pitch when you know guys are there and they’re going to make the plays and they did a hell of a job.”
The difference in the game was Luzardo.
“He executed a ton of his pitches,” Alonso said. “He didn’t really give us much to hit in the zone. He was excellent all night. He was executing on the corners and he did a really good job of throwing chase pitches that looked like driveable ones. He got us to chase and then when he needed to get a quick contact out, he was able to do so. He had everything working.
“Tough night to hit.”
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