New York Mets Win on Yoenis Cespedes’ Historic Home Run

Mets Braves

FLUSHING, July 24 – The New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 1-0 at Citi Field in the 2020 season opener. In what was a fast-paced game The Mets won with a formula they hope will be commonplace this year, good starting pitching followed by four scoreless innings from their bullpen and a timely hit by a player who has been a difference-maker when healthy.

Jacob deGrom Sharp

The Mets starter was the reigning back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. deGrom who had a back injury in Summer Camp was on an 80 pitch limit and pitched five scoreless innings picking up where he left off in 2019. deGrom allowed one hit and one walk with eight strikeouts but left the game in a scoreless tie.

The Braves were getting good pitching too as their young star pitcher Mike Soroka fired six scoreless innings giving up four hits with three strikeouts. Soroka at 21-years-old is the youngest pitcher to start on opening day for the Braves since 1878.

Braves Defense Robs Mets

The Mets had the only scoring opportunities early on in the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jeff McNeil stroked a line drive into the rightfield corner. Ronald Acuna Jr. fired a strike to second base to cut down McNeil from stretching the hit to a double. The Mets challenged the play and the call was reversed. With McNeil now on second Pete Alonso was up next and he hit a ground ball to short. McNeil tried to cross over to third and was cut down by Dansby Swanson.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Robinson Cano hit a one-out single. Next up was J.D. Davis and he hit a long high drive to centerfield. The Braves three-time Golden Glove centerfielder, Ender Inciarte raced back to the wall and leaped robbing Davis of a two-run home run.

Welcome Back La Potencia

With Chris Martin now on the mound for the Braves, the Mets finally got on the board. Playing in his first game in over two years Yoenis Cespedes crushed a Chris Martin pitch deep into the leftfield stands giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Cespedes, who was the designated hitter made history. He is the first National League player to hit a home run as the designated hitter in a home game.

What a welcomed sight this was for the Mets to have Cespedes back in the lineup. Since his arrival in New York back in 2015, when Cespedes hits the Mets win. Cespedes has now homered in his last three games played. On May 13th, 2018 Cespedes homered vs the Philadelphia Phillies. Then on July 20th, 2018 Cespedes homered against the New York Yankees. Cespedes would then go on the injured list where he ultimately had surgery on both heels, then suffered a setback after a freak injury on his ranch which required surgery. Now in a contract year, Cespedes is back and if he continues to hit the Mets lineup now becomes very potent.

Mets Bullpen Takes Over

Mets rookie manager Luis Rojas removed deGrom after dominating the Braves for five innings. When the Mets turned the game over to the bullpen last year it was a frightening sight. First up was the Mets best reliever last season, Seth Lugo. Lugo pitched two scoreless innings not before giving up a one-out double to Marcell Ozuna. Lugo left him stranded at second.

As Cespedes was giving the Mets the lead, Dellin Betances was warming up in the bullpen. Rojas who was managing in his first game as the Mets manager opts to bring in Justin Wilson instead. After giving up a leadoff single to Swanson in the eighth inning, Wilson retired the next three batters.

With the Mets clinging to a one-run lead Edwin Diaz got the call to close out the game for the Mets. After a dominant season in 2018 with the Seattle Mariners the Mets traded away two top prospects for the young and dominant closer. As good as 2018 was for Diaz, 2019 was just as bad. Ozzie Albies grounded out to second leading off the inning. After walking Freddie Freeman, Diaz would then strike out both Ozuna and Matt Adams to end the game. Just like the Cespedes home run, Diaz getting the save in his first opportunity is a great sight to see for Mets fans.

Game Notes

The Mets now have a 38-20 record on opening day. Prior to today’s game deGrom started nine games vs the Braves at Citi Field with a 1.53 ERA. The Mets record in those games was 2-7. Mets pitchers combined to strike out 15 Braves batters. Among the cardboard cutouts in the stands in place for live fans was a cutout of the former Brave and Mets nemesis, Chipper Jones.

These two teams will do it again on Saturday with a 4:10 PM start. The starting pitcher for the Braves is Max Fried. The Mets will counter with Steven Matz.

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