NEW YORK (AP) — In an astonishing debut, Steven Matz became the only major league pitcher to drive in four runs in his first career game while leading the New York Mets to a 7-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Pitching about 50 miles from home with a huge cheering section on hand, Matz got three hits in rejuvenating an anemic offense and helping the Mets to a three-game sweep. He was awfully impressive on the mound, too, working into the eighth inning after giving up a home run to his first batter.
The team’s latest prized pitching prospect, Matz had to wait 3 1/2 extra hours to make his much-anticipated debut because the teams needed 13 innings to first complete Saturday’s game that was suspended by rain. Picking up in the seventh inning, New York won 2-1 with help from two miscues by Reds infielders.
Terry Collins was just happy the first game ended. With a win in their pocket, the New York Mets could finally get to prized prospect Steven Matz’s debut.
Lucas Duda drove in the winning run on the Cincinnati Reds’ second bungled infield chance in the 13th inning, lifting the Mets to a 2-1 victory Sunday in the completion of a game suspended by rain a day earlier.
Curtis Granderson homered for New York and Brandon Phillips had an RBI double for the Reds on Saturday before the game was cut short after six innings with the score tied 1-all.
“We won the game. That’s the only good thing that happened, besides the pitching,” the Mets’ manager said about 24 hours after the game started at 4:12 p.m. Saturday.
Granderson had a big hit in the 13th on Sunday, a single to right field off Nate Adcock (0-1) after Dilson Herrera drew a leadoff walk. Herrera raced to third base, and the Reds brought their infield in.
Eugenio Suarez, who was pinch-hitting in the top half when Ivan DeJesus Jr. was caught stealing to end the inning, could not handle Ruben Tejada’s grounder to shortstop for an error that loaded the bases.
Cincinnati then brought in left fielder Skip Schumaker to form a five-man infield.
Duda hit a high chopper to first baseman Joey Votto, who leaped and initially snagged the ball before it fell out of his glove, giving him no play. Herrera slid home to give the Mets their third straight victory following a seven-game skid.
New York has managed only two runs in each of the wins — and totaled all of 15 in its past 10 games. Mets pitchers, however, have yielded just two runs in the last 33 innings.
“That game didn’t look like it was going to be won by a solo home run,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It was going to need something like that, a walk or a mistake, that was going to lead to a win.”
Bobby Parnell (1-0) pitched an inning in his sixth appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery. He earned his first win since June 6, 2013.
Reds slugger Todd Frazier fouled out with the bases loaded in the seventh, and both struggling lineups had chances to score in the late innings. Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares robbed Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce of a homer in the eighth, and two fantastic plays by Schumaker in the seventh thwarted the Mets.
“We wouldn’t have been in that situation to still be in the game in those late innings had Shu hadn’t made those great plays in the seventh inning,” Price said.
New York failed to take advantage of a two-base error by Votto in the 11th and went 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position for the game. The Reds left 12 on base.
Sunday’s regularly scheduled game featured the heralded debut of Matz, who grew up about an hour from Citi Field on Long Island. He was called up as New York’s 26th player on the roster.
Matz is the latest — and perhaps last — in a stellar crop of young pitchers to arrive with the Mets recently. The ace of the group, Matt Harvey, gave up a run over six solid innings in the rain Saturday night before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
After using five relievers Sunday, Collins hoped he could get some distance from the rookie, but said: “The game will dictate how much latitude he has. Hopefully he pitches well.”
Carlos Torres was announced as the Mets’ first reliever Saturday, but the game was suspended before he took the mound.
When the game restarted, 20 minutes after the planned time because of more early rain in New York, the official scorer announced Reds rookie Michael Lorenzen’s line — he was lifted in the sixth inning Saturday night.
The Reds loaded the bases in the seventh, but Hansel Robles got Frazier to foul out.
Lorenzen matched Harvey most of the way Saturday and received relief help from Manny Parra, who retired Granderson on a 3-1 pitch with the bases loaded to end the sixth.
With the rain getting heavier, umpires stopped play and signaled for the tarp. The game was called following a 53-minute delay.
Phillips’ double gave him a hit in all 31 road games he’s played against the Mets.