PHOENIX – Starling Marte stretched out both arms like a sprinter breaking through the finish line.
Marte hit first base a split-second before the ball entered Christian Walker’s glove from behind third base as Jeff McNeil darted home.
After initially being ruled out, Marte’s hustle was paid off with a successful challenge. Marte’s RBI infield single cooled off another Mets bullpen meltdown in a 6-5 victory over the Diamondbacks in 10 innings in the teams’ series opener in front of 20,939 fans on Friday night at Chase Field.
“I knew I was safe because I saw the ball coming in and I tagged the base. Did you see my sign after I tagged the base?” Marte said with a laugh.
Throughout the night, the aggression from top of the Mets’ lineup paid dividends as Marte and Brandon Nimmo went racing around the bases.
It started with Nimmo, who ran with near-reckless abandon. In the top of the fourth, he noticed the Diamondbacks’ shift with two strikes and went the opposite way down the third-base line. He slid in under the tag of Ketel Marte for the Mets’ first hit of the game:
And then Nimmo tied the game at 1-1 when Pete Alonso floated an RBI single into shallow right field.
Nimmo also led off the sixth inning with another single before sliding into third on a weak ground ball to left by Marte. Nimmo scored on a sacrifice fly from Alonso, whose two RBI gave him 16 on the season.
“When he does that, that means I have to do it too because when I see a guy play like that, that’s how I have to play too,” Marte said.
Marte moved over second and then came across on a slow roller to first base to make it 3-1. In the win, Nimmo ran his season run total to nine by crossing home twice, while Marte scored his 10th run of the season.
James McCann built a little confidence with a massive 452-foot two-run home run to left field in the top of the seventh inning.
After opening the season with three hits in his first 27 at-bats, it was a huge blast for the Mets catcher.
“It ended up being a really big play in the game,” McCann said. “Coming through like that, especially after a slow start, it feels good.”
At the time, it appeared to be insurance with the Mets leading 5-1, but Chasen Shreve, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz each allowed a run over the next three innings as the Diamondbacks forced extra innings.
The Mets carried a four-run lead into the seventh inning but could not protect it.
Shreve allowed a leadoff infield single to Seth Beer and another single from Pavin Smith put runners on the corners. Daulton Varsho cashed in on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Things really started to get dicey with May on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Cooper Hummel got things started with a leadoff double to left. After back-to-back strikeouts, Walker yanked an inside fastball into the home bullpen to cut the Diamondbacks lead to 5-4.
“Trevor pitched well for the most part and gave up a jam home run around the foul pole,” Buck Showalter said. “Shreve did some good things, but I thought the story was (David) Peterson again. He was good, man. Drew (Smith) was good. We did some good things.”
When the game appeared to be locked up with two outs in the ninth, Diaz surrendered a game-tying home run to Varsho that crawled over the right-field wall.
“I thought I made a good pitch, but when I saw the video, I left it right in the middle,” Diaz said. “I threw 14 pitches and the bad one, it was a homer. I was able to get the last out and give the team a chance to win and we got the win.”
Seth Lugo came on in a big spot and pinned down his first save of the season.
With Jake McCarthy on second base, he struck out Hummel and Ketel Marte. And after a walk to Matt Davidson, he was able to get Walker to pop out to shallow center field.
Another strong start:
Heading into the 2022 season, David Peterson was simply glad to be in the Mets clubhouse.
After three outings, Peterson has proven he belongs.
He opened the game with two perfect innings before giving up his first run of the season following a double leadoff to Pavin Smith. An infield single from Jose Herrera set the stage for an RBI groundout by Hummel.
Peterson faced the minimum number of batters in the fourth and fifth innings, aided by a baserunning gaffe from Smith who was doubled off first on a fly ball to left field. Of Peterson’s 17 outs, 10 came on ground balls.
“I was able to get ahead of guys, moving the ball around, forcing the issue,” Peterson said. “Forcing the issue, you fill the zone up, you get strikes on guys and they have to swing unless they’re going back to the dugout. I think that was key for me to get ahead of guys and get the contact that I did . “
Peterson was pulled by Showalter after giving up a two-out double to Ketel Marte in the sixth inning. He threw only 65 pitches across 5⅔ innings, striking out three and allowing one earned run on three hits and one walk.
On the season, Peterson’s ERA is 0.56. He has allowed just the one earned run in 14 innings. He has struck out 10 and posted a 1.00 WHIP.
“He threw the ball extremely well,” McCann said. “I do not know how many pitches he threw, but I felt like he was just as strong when he came out of the game as when he started the game.”
Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
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This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Starling Marte RBI infield single lifts Mets past Diamondbacks: