Home News Justin Verlander dominates Guardians as Mets sweep doubleheader

Justin Verlander dominates Guardians as Mets sweep doubleheader

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At this point, there is wonder whether the Mets are suckering opposing teams into a false sense of security. Buck Showalter’s club allows its pitching to dig a hole before its offense bides its time, awaits its moment and then attacks.

The Mets received brilliance from Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander and generated more late-inning magic to stage a pair of comebacks and steal a day filled with baseball — and a series — from the Guardians on Sunday. They won 5-4 in the first game and squeaked out a 2-1 victory in the nightcap.

The Mets (25-23) have won five straight, matching their longest win streak of the season, before they hit the road for six against the Cubs and Rockies beginning Tuesday.

After Starling Marte’s eighth-inning home run put the Mets over the top Sunday afternoon, a second late-stage rally capped by a Jeff McNeil sacrifice fly lifted the Mets to a doubleheader sweep.

The Mets swept Scher-Lander Day, receiving a combined 14 innings of one-run ball from Scherzer and Verlander in the most optimistic day for their rotation this season.

Scherzer was excellent through six scoreless innings in Game 1, in which his fastball abandoned him because of a split callus on his finger, but he relied on his secondary pitches to keep the Mets in the game.

Robert Sabo for NY Post

Verlander, who had been roughed up by the Rays on Tuesday, dominated in the nightcap.

One start after Velander got booed in his Citi Field debut as a Met, the 40-year-old got a standing ovation after eight strong, one-run innings in the longest outing by a Mets starter this season. Verlander was nearly untouchable, allowing just three base runners in an efficient and needed outing. The Mets’ bullpen was taxed — as evidenced by Brooks Raley saving things after throwing a scoreless inning in the afternoon game.

The Mets trailed, 1-0, in the sixth inning when Francisco Lindor pounced on an 0-2 knuckle curve from Shane Bieber and rocketed it to left-center, just out of the reach of a leaping Myles Straw.

Francisco Lindor celebrates his home run in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Sunday.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

They completed the comeback two innings later, when Francisco Alvarez singled and was removed for pinch-runner Marte. Bieber used two pickoff throws to try to get Marte, who then took off for second base in what became a perfect hit-and-run. Lindor’s half-swing grounded a ball to the shortstop hole, which had been abandoned by Gabriel Arias as he ran to cover second base. With runners on the corners and one out, McNeil hit a deep fly to put the Mets on top in their latest taste of late-game magic.

It was Lindor’s walk-off, 10th-inning single that keyed Friday’s victory and Pete Alonso’s walk-off homer that sparked the Mets in the 10th on Wednesday.

Max Scherzer pitched well for the Mets in Game 1 on Sunday.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

In Sunday’s first game, Marte did not wait for extra innings.

After the Mets’ bullpen blew a 3-0 lead in the top of the eighth, Brett Baty walked to put the tying run on base in the bottom of the inning. Marte, who had not knocked an extra-base hit since April 14, blasted a four-seamer from Trevor Stephan over the right-field wall to set off a celebration for the 39,995 on hand.

“This has been a battle for the last couple of weeks,” Marte said through translator Alan Suriel after his first homer since April 7. “Day in and day, we’re starting to get closer to where we want to be.”

Marte, who has been a slow starter after offseason groin surgeries and a neck issue that hampered him in April, has begun to show signs he can become the offensive force he was last season.

Starling Marte homered in the Mets’ Game 1 win
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

True to the afternoon’s theme, Marte’s dinger showed especially strong resilience after he had been picked off first base in the fourth inning in the first game, caught napping while he put his sliding glove on his hand.

“He cares,” manager Buck Showalter said of Marte. “Some of the conversations behind closed doors … you get to know a guy. It means a lot to him.”

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