Chris Bassitt threw eight strong innings in his homecoming, Eduardo Escobar blasted his first career grand slam and the visiting New York Mets opened a three-game road series with a 9-2 shellacking of the Oakland Athletics on Friday.
The Mets (96-56) extended their National League East lead to 2 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves (93-58), who lost 9-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Traded from the A’s to the Mets in March for two prospects, Bassitt (15-8) made the most of his first return to Oakland. He needed just 91 pitches to complete eight innings, during which he allowed just six hits and two runs.
Having seen the ninth inning just once during a six-year, 88-start career with the A’s, Bassitt was pulled after allowing single runs in the seventh (when Seth Brown singled home Sean Murphy) and eighth (on Dermis Garcia’s fifth homer of the season).
An All-Star last season in his final season with the A’s, Bassitt walked one and struck out two.
Drew Smith threw a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the six-hitter.
The Mets’ offense made things easy on the guest of honor, scoring three runs in the second inning and five more in the fifth. Brandon Nimmo’s two-out, two-run single was the big blow of the second.
A’s starter Cole Irvin (9-12) kept the score at 3-0 until Escobar came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth. Escobar’s grand slam, his 19th homer of the year, blew the game open.
The Mets added another run in the inning on Matt Vientos’ second RBI of the game, a run-scoring double. At that point, Irvin was pulled, charged with eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Jeff McNeil singled home Escobar with the visitors’ final run in the seventh.
McNeil had three hits and scored twice for the Mets, who won for the seventh time in their past eight games. Pete Alonso and Escobar also scored twice, Nimmo joined Vientos with two hits and two RBIs, and Mark Canha chipped in with a pair of hits.
Murphy had a single and double for the A’s (55-96), who dropped their second game in a row.
–Field Level Media