NEW YORK (AP) No matter the field conditions, the New York Mets have dampened Miami's playoff chances all season.
Pete Alonso was 4 for 4 with a homer, Francisco Lindor also went deep and drove in four runs, and the Mets pounded the Marlins 11-2 in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday.
Braxton Garrett (9-7) was tagged early in a costly defeat for the Marlins, who began the day a half-game behind the Cubs for the final National League wild card. Chicago played later at NL East champion Atlanta.
The game was a makeup after the series opener was postponed Tuesday night because of unplayable field conditions. The infield at Citi Field wasn’t covered with a tarp for at least some portion of last weekend, when rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia began pelting New York City for four straight days.
The tarp was on the field Tuesday, but when showers finally subsided in the late afternoon and the tarp was removed, the messy field was too soggy to play.
That forced a doubleheader Wednesday that affected Miami’s pitching plans in the final days of a heated playoff race - angering team officials, according to a report by The Athletic.
Mets owner Steven Cohen apologized to the Marlins and their fans on social media for the postponement.
“It's been weird, but it's no excuse," Garrett said. "I got my throwing in yesterday. You know, long waiting period and a long time trying to stay mentally locked in. But that's really the only difference. Again, it's no excuse. But weird day yesterday, for sure.”
Even on dry fields, New York (72-85) has been a thorn in Miami's side this year. The Mets are 8-3 against the Marlins, outscoring them 57-30 with two meetings remaining.
“That lineup's real. I mean, I know where they're at after the trade deadline and everything, but that lineup's good. Pete Alonso is one of the better players in the league,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said. “We put it over the middle of the plate and they made us pay."
Alonso, Lindor and Mark Vientos each launched a two-run homer to help the Mets build a 6-0 lead for Joey Lucchesi (4-0), who took a shutout into the seventh inning.
Alonso scored four times for the first time in his career and finished a triple short of the cycle in busting out of a 3-for-38 slump. He also was hit by a pitch in the eighth.
Mets manager Buck Showalter said the slugger has been bothered for three or four days by an illness going around the clubhouse.
“First day he really felt good physically. And it looked like it,” Showalter said.
Aided by several fine plays from Jeff McNeil in right field, Lucchesi (4-0) was charged with two runs and seven hits over six-plus innings in his ninth major league start this year. With the season ending Sunday, it was probably the final 2023 outing for the 30-year-old lefty, who would become the first Mets pitcher to make at least nine starts in a season and finish unbeaten.
“Up and down year for me, coming back from Tommy John. Felt like I had something to prove - to the world, to myself. I wanted to show people I still belong here and I feel like I made that case,” Lucchesi said. “I feel like next year my arm’s going to feel way better. I’m going to work on some things. I feel like I’m going to come back stronger and better.”
Lucchesi said he was involved in a minor car accident Tuesday night with his family near the ballpark when the Uber they were riding in was struck by another vehicle.
“Police were chasing this stranger and then the guy collided with our car. Totally messed up the Uber’s left side. I was on the right side, thankfully,” Lucchesi said. “It wasn’t too drastic of a crash. He couldn’t drive his vehicle.”
The pitcher said teammate Tylor Megill saw the crash from behind and took Lucchesi and his family to his hotel.
“It was pretty wild. Crazy. A lot of adrenaline,” Lucchesi said.
Jon Berti was a home run shy of the cycle for Miami (81-76). Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Nick Fortes opened the seventh with consecutive doubles to chase Lucchesi.
Garrett gave up the homers to Alonso and Lindor. The left-hander permitted four runs and three hits in four innings after allowing only two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings over his previous four starts. He had yielded three runs or fewer in each of his past 10 starts.
“I had trouble with my cutter today, keeping it up in the zone,” Garrett said. “I'm really proud of the season, and hopefully it's not the last one.”
Johnny Cueto started the nightcap for Miami against rookie Kodai Senga.
Alonso tied Howard Johnson for fourth place in Mets history with 192 home runs.
Marlins: All-Star infielder Luis Arraez (sprained left ankle) sat out the opener and wasn't in the starting lineup for the second game, either. Arraez leads the majors with a .353 batting average. ... RHP Huascar Brazobán (left hip impingement) was reinstated from the injured list Tuesday night when closer Tanner Scott went on the paternity list.
Mets: RF Starling Marte (right groin strain) will not return this season.
Marlins LHP Jesús Luzardo (10-9, 3.73 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series Thursday night against LHP David Peterson (3-8, 5.37).
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