Almost exactly a year later, the Patrick Mazeika magic is back.
Unlike last May, when he hit a pair of walk-off fielder’s choices in a five-day span, Mazeika’s game-winning hit for the Mets on Saturday night left the infield — and in a big way.
Just after the Mets’ bullpen blew a three-run lead, the recently called-up catcher crushed a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to secure a 5-4 win over the Mariners in front of a buzzing crowd of 37,140 at Citi Field.
“I think we can say that one was over 60 mph [off the bat] and over six feet,” Mazeika said with a grin. “Obviously it felt really good. Big moment, big team win. It was an electric crowd too, so it was overall a great night.”
Noted Queens villain Jesse Winker had tied the score 4-4 in the top of the seventh with a three-run homer off Chasen Shreve, but Mazeika quickly gave the Mets (23-12) their lead back. He turned on a 97-mph fastball from Andres Muñoz and slugged a 370-foot blast that cut through the fog to land in the right-field seats.
Mazeika, who joined the Mets on Friday from Triple-A after James McCann landed on the injured list, had a tough time behind the plate, struggling to get on the same page with starter Chris Bassitt, whom he was catching for the first time. But he made up for it with one big swing.
“That was a great moment for him, let alone the team,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Adam Ottavino then stranded a runner on third base in the eighth inning before Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth against his former team — ending the game by striking out Winker swinging.
“It was a little bit fun, but at the same time, I gotta stay locked in to get the three outs because we needed this win,” Diaz said. “We want to win every series, so today was a big game for us.”
After rain delayed the start of the game by one hour and eight minutes, Bassitt wasn’t at his sharpest. He worked around traffic for most of his outing, however, to limit the Mariners (15-19) to just one run across 5 ²/₃ innings.
Seth Lugo relieved Bassitt in the sixth and got him out of a jam, but then created another in the seventh inning, allowing a pair of one-out singles.
Shreve came on to face Winker, who has been booed all series. Winker made himself even more hated, crushing his three-run homer that tied the score. After he crossed home plate, Winker leaned into the villain role — which dates to 2019 when the former Red chirped back and forth with the fans in left field — by waving at the crowd that was booing back at him.
“There were a lot of emotional swings in that game,” Showalter said.
The Mets won a pair of challenges in the first inning: one in the top of the inning confirming that Bassitt had picked off Eugenio Suarez at second base with the bases loaded to end the frame and another in the bottom that Marte had safely dived into third base with a triple.
It was the start of a strong night for Marte, who powered the Mets’ offense by going 3-for-4 with three runs and a stolen base, falling a home run short of the cycle. He scored on Francisco Lindor’s single in the first inning, Lindor’s sacrifice fly in the third inning and Pete Alonso’s double in the fifth that put the Mets up 4-0.
Mariners right-hander George Kirby, a Rye, N.Y., native who was making his second career MLB start after getting called up last weekend, had an audible cheering section of family and friends in attendance. While he didn’t get much help from his fielders, the Mets also forced him to throw 89 pitches to get through four innings. Kirby scattered three hits and a walk and gave up three runs, though only one was earned.
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