Mets demolish Cubs as Carlos Carrasco picks up first win of season
CHICAGO — The Carlos Carrasco who buoyed the Mets’ rotation for much of last season showed up just in time to help prevent an embarrassment on Thursday.
After losing the first two games of this series against the Cubs, the Mets had to avoid a sweep — for their collective psyches as much as anything.
Enter Carrasco and a throwback performance.
With the veteran right-hander pitching respectably into the seventh inning, the Mets rolled to a 10-1 victory at Wrigley Field and snapped their two-game skid.
Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil combined to carry the lineup.
Alonso reached base five times, which included his MLB-leading 19th homer as part of the team’s 15-hit attack.
McNeil reached base four times and had three hits.
The Mets snapped a streak of three straight games in which they had scored only two runs in each contest.
Carrasco, in his second game off the injured list, provided the Mets with his best result of the season.
He lasted 6 ²/₃ innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Carrasco averaged 92.3 mph with his four-seam fastball — up a tick from his season average — but relied mostly on his changeup.
Carrasco mostly kept the ball on the ground, helping him survive six balls that left the bat traveling at least 100 mph.
In his return from the IL last Friday — he had been sidelined with elbow inflammation caused by a bone chip before receiving a cortisone shot to alleviate the discomfort — Carrasco allowed five earned runs over five innings against the Guardians and saw his ERA swell to 8.68.
Last season Carrasco pitched strong into early September for the Mets before fading late in the season and finishing with a 3.97 ERA, prompting the team to pick up his option for this year.
In the first inning the Mets loaded the bases against Kyle Hendricks — who hadn’t pitched since July of last season — and got a run on Brett Baty’s sacrifice fly.
Brandon Nimmo singled leading off the game and walks to McNeil and Alonso fueled the rally.
Dansby Swanson’s homer in the bottom of the first tied it 1-1.
The blast was the fifth allowed by Carrasco in as many starts this season.
It was the fifth homer of the season for Swanson, who arrived over the winter on a seven-year contract worth $177 million that removed him from the NL East with the Braves.
Four straight two-out singles by the Mets in the third inning, mostly on weak contact, gave them a 4-1 lead.
Baty’s RBI single brought in the inning’s first run after McNeil and Alonso had singled in succession.
Starling Marte delivered a two-run single that extended the lead.
Marte stole second, but was left stranded when Daniel Vogelbach struck out looking for the second time in as many innings.
The Mets executed a double steal in the fifth with McNeil and Alonso that helped them increase the lead to 5-1.
McNeil swiped third on the play and scored when catcher Yan Gomes’ throw sailed into left field. Alonso, the trail runner, remained at second.
Alonso went to the opposite field and cleared the wall in right in the seventh for his MLB-leading 19th homer of the season.
The blast extended the Mets’ lead to 7-1.
If Alonso can homer on Friday he will match Dave Kingman (50 games in 1976) as the fastest player in franchise history to reach 20 homers in a season.
The Mets piled on in the eighth, with Nimmo stroking a two-run triple before Francisco Lindor’s RBI single extended the lead to 10-1.