After a series sweep in which the Mets were thoroughly out-pitched, out-hit and generally outplayed by the Washington Nationals, Zach Wheeler and Eric Campbell brought a taste of redemption for New York.
The 24 year old right-hander tossed a gem and was backed by a home run off the bat of his rookie left-fielder, as the Mets defeated the Cubs 3-2 Thursday night at Citi Field.
Wheeler came firing out of the gate, striking out Chris Coughlan and Javier Baez to start the game, setting up both with his fastball before finishing them with a curveball at the knees.
Starlin Castro and Wellington Castillo, though, brokered trouble in the second as they hit back to back singles to give Chicago first and second and nobody out. But Wheeler reached back for a little extra on his fastball to fan the next three batters in succession and quell the threat.
He would not prove so fortunate in the third. To leadoff that inning, Wheeler committed the cardinal sin of walking the opposing pitcher, Travis Wood. Two batters later, Baez singled to center. Juan Lagares came up firing to try and get Wood out at third, but the ball call too late and Baez managed to grab second on the throw. A groundout by Anthony Rizzo and a single by Castro each brought brought Wood and Baez home in turn, giving Chicago an early 2-0 lead.
That was all the runs the Cubs would receive; in fact they would not get another hit in the game. Wheeler settled down, and though he was a tad wild, he missed bats and left with two outs in the seventh, having struck out ten and surrendered just four singles a pair of earned runs.
The Mets bats were scarcely louder than Chicago’s, but they got all the offense they would need in the bottom of the 4th. David Wright worked an eight pitch walk to leadoff the inning, and the next hitter, Lucas Duda, got his own free pass from Wood. Travis d’Arnaud then popped up, setting left fielder Eric Campbell up with two men on and one out.
It took one pitch. An 87 MPH fastball left square over the middle of the plate that Campbell tucked right in front of the Party City Deck in left field for his second home run of the season. It gave New York a three run lead they would not relinquish.
In his first appearance since blowing a three run lead to the Phillies and being diagnosed with a sports hernia, Jenrry Mejia looked sharp. The young closer pitched a perfect ninth to notch his 18th save of the year.