Walker dominates Marlins, Lindor homers as Mets win 3-2

NEW YORK (AP) – Taijuan Walker made 18 consecutive retirements and entered the seventh inning as Francisco Lindor headed home for a second straight game and the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Saturday.

The Mets have won three straight and won five of six, earning their NL-best 44th win and improving over .500 in a season-high 21 games. It is the fastest to reach that point since 1986, when the eventual World Series winner improved to 36-15.

Walker (5-2) pitched a one-run ball and scored nine runs in 6 2/3 innings in front of a large crowd on an unseasonably calm and sultry day. John Bertie singled out to lead the game and stole a base in each of the next two batsmen, but the pacer was stranded as the right-hander swept the side.

Fluttering around the field with napkins, hot dog wrappers and other garbage, Walker blew up the Marlins with a dizzying mix of four-seamers, sinkers, sliders, and particularly tough splitters.

“He had everything at his disposal,” said Mets manager Buck Showalter. “Every pitch he had to respect.”

Jazz Chisholm Jr. went up against Walker in seventh, stole second and scored on Avicel Garcia’s double. Walker was charged with two hits and a walk.

“I was just trying to go out there and get a strike, and just go ahead on the count and try and put them away when I got two strikes,” Walker said.

For the second game in a row, Lindor made it home in the presence of his mother and several other family members. With one in third, Lindor drove a Braxton Garrett 2–2 fastball into the wall of left-center field to score a Starling Marte and give the Mets a 3–0 advantage. Lindor pointed to his family as he passed home plate, pumping his fist several times.

Lindor’s mother, Maria Serrano, visited Citi Field on Friday for the first time since being acquired from Cleveland in January 2021 and saw her son hit the club as a three-run homer. He has scored six runs in the first two matches of the series and has 51 RBIs this season.

“She definitely brings out the best in me,” Lindor said. “This whole weekend is for him and my family, and I’m getting good pitches to hit as well.”

Garrett (1-2) conceded five hits and three runs in two walks in four innings.

Walker has conceded 19 runs in 12 2/3 innings compared to his previous two starts.

Jeff McNeill sang home Mark Canha to put New York on board in second place.

Drew Smith replaced Walker in seventh and retired all four batsmen he faced, dismissing three of them.

Edwin Diaz made his 14th defense of 17 appearances in ninth place. Catcher Tomas Nido’s throwing error went on to lead Bertie, finishing second and finishing third. Chisholm looked again and was dismissed by home plate umpire Adam Beck after arguing the call.

“You’re not going to sit there and blame the whole game on one call,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the controversial punchout. “Obviously he misses him. You don’t want to see him miss him with the guys on base.”

Garrett Cooper took home a single to Bertie before Diaz took out George Soler. Cooper then took second, but was trapped when Garcia failed on strike three to end the game.

The Marlins dropped three for the sixth straight time this season.

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Lindor quickly took to his right to be intercepted by a scorching grounder of 111.2 mph by Brian de la Cruz in third. De la Cruz running first, Lindor plowed into the hole and pulled a one-hopper across the diamond to put Pete Alonso outside.

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Mets: 3B Eduardo Escobar was back in the starting lineup after sitting out two straight games, going 0 for 3 and managing all nine innings at hot corners. Escobar was tested at a hospital on Thursday after experiencing headache and dizziness while taking Grounder in the afternoon. He was available off the bench on Friday night but did not play.

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Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (6-2, 1.68 ERA) will look to secure her first win in Queens on Sunday afternoon. The Miami Ace is 0-3 and has a 3.55 ERA in six career starts at Citi Field.

Mets: RHP Chris Bassett (5-4, 4.01 ERA) faces the Marlins for the first time, scoring the season’s highest eight scoreless innings in a win over Milwaukee on Tuesday.

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