For the New York Mets, a playoff spot was certainly worth celebrating, even if they still have bigger goals on the table in the middle of a heated pennant race.
Max Scherzer was on Monday pulled from his 200th win with a perfect game intact, and the Mets clinched their first trip to the post-season in six years by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2.
Reinstated from the injured list before the game, Scherzer (10-4) struck out nine in six innings. The 38-year-old ace threw only 68 pitches, but that was as far as the National League East leaders let him go in his first start in 16 days.
Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY
Brewers star Christian Yelich doubled leading off the seventh against Tylor Megill, making his first major league relief appearance after 27 starts. Megill also came off the injured list earlier in the day.
Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer off reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (10-8), and the Mets won their fifth straight to wrap up at least one of the three National League wild cards. They lead their division by one game over defending World Series champions the Atlanta Braves, which beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 at home.
“This is what you play the game for. You play the game to go to the post-season,” Scherzer said. “We have a lot of things in front of us and we understand that, but, man, you’ve got to celebrate the good times, too.”
Mets players and coaches hugged and high-fived on the field after the final out, then enjoyed a boozy, but subdued celebration in the clubhouse.
“This is just the first step. I have high expectations,” owner Steven Cohen, wearing a Mets cap, said after giving a post-game speech to the team. “If we can win the division, that would be great. Obviously, Atlanta is a great team, and it will probably go down to the wire, and then we’ll see what happens in the playoffs. I think this is a team that can go really far.”
It is the 10th post-season appearance in the franchise’s 61-season history, and first since the Mets lost to the San Francisco Giants in the 2016 National League wild-card game.
In Denver, Colorado, Thairo Estrada hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 10th inning after igniting a tying rally in the ninth, and the Giants came back to beat the Colorado Rockies 10-7.
Mike Yastrzemski homered and Wilmer Flores had three hits and two RBIs for the Giants, who snapped a three-game losing streak and overcame four errors that led to two unearned runs.
In St Petersburg, Florida, the Houston Astros clinched their fifth American League West title in six years, getting a leadoff home run from Jose Altuve in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s been a great start to the season,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “This is a first step in the right direction for this ballclub. We’ve just got to stay focused and know what a tough task is ahead of us.”
Headed to the post-season for the sixth straight season, Houston won for the eighth time in nine games and improved the American League’s best record to 97-51.
In Monday’s other games, it was:
‧ Guardians 11, Twins 4
‧ Mariners 9, Angels 1
‧ Marlins 10, Cubs 3
‧ Tigers 11, Orioles 0
‧ Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2
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