November 28, 2022

Nick Plummer goes yard in second-straight MLB start as Mets rout Nationals 13-5 on Memorial Day

Nick Plummer has a second amazin’ start with Mets. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

If you were writing a how-to manual on coming back from a three-run, first-inning deficit, scoring 12 unanswered runs would be a strong start.

The Mets were down by three before they even had a chance to bat on Monday night. Then they got two runs back in the bottom of the first, added four in the second, three in the third and three more in the fourth. At the end of the Memorial Day game, the Mets had a 13-5 win, having opened a lead so huge that it’s funny to realize they were once playing from behind.

“Sometimes we like being down so we can come back,” Starling Marte said with a lighthearted tone.

As with any blowout, there were plenty of players on the winning side that had colossal nights. But Nick Plummer, the 25-year-old making his second career start in the major leagues, certainly had the most memorable. Plummer had three hits, including his second home run in as many nights. The opposite field shot on Monday made Plummer the first player in Mets’ history with multiple home runs after just two starts.

“We’re just a bunch of grown men playing the game that we’ve been playing for 20-30 years,” Plummer said. “You try to keep it light and ultimately have fun. It’s a game of a lot of ups and a lot of downs. You like to ride out the good waves.”

Plummer also ripped a game-tying hit for the second night in a row. While the latter one lacked the drama of Sunday’s home run in the ninth inning, a double to knot things up in the second inning of Monday’s game was helpful as well. By Plummer’s next at-bat in the fourth inning, the Mets had taken a sledgehammer to Washington’s pitching, and the rookie’s home run pushed the lead to 12-3.

“It’s fun to get to sit there and watch the joy he gets from being here in the big leagues and contributing,” Buck Showalter said of Plummer. “You kind of revel in it with him.”

Nearly every Met who saw the field on Monday chipped in something meaningful, but the top of the order was on a whole other level. Luis Guillorme, Marte and Francisco Lindor did not record an out in any of their first three plate appearances. The trio started the game by going 8-for-8 with a Marte home run, a Guillorme walk, and seven RBI between them. Lindor, who continues to disappoint sectors of the fanbase that expect a higher batting average, now has 40 RBI.

To reach that milestone by Memorial Day is impressive enough. But in the context of the league, it looks even better. When the Mets’ game ended, those 40 RBI led all major league shortstops and trailed only Pete Alonso and Paul Goldschmidt for the National League lead. Lindor’s two RBI on Monday also extended his streak to eight straight games with a run driven in. The Mets are the only team in baseball with two players already at 40 RBI.

Coming into the season, robust numbers from Lindor and Alonso are what the Mets were expecting. They could not have foreseen such a phenomenal start from Guillorme, though. Ticketed for a reserve role coming out of spring training, Guillorme has wedged his way into the starting lineup after some recent injuries and his own play making him difficult to keep on the bench. The bearded infielder got just 33 plate appearances in April compared to 60 in May. He started to catch fire at the end of April, and since April 21 he owns a ridiculous .500 on-base percentage, meaning he gets on base as often he records an out.

On Monday, he went 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored, though it was his defense earned postgame praise, with David Peterson calling him a “wizard” after a few slick plays.

“Luis put on a clinic at second base tonight,” Showalter said. “I’m not sure we win the game tonight if he doesn’t make some of those plays. He’s got great imagination, good hands. But his imagination defensively, reading hops and knowing when to come, that’s fun to watch.”

Defense, particularly his legendarily quick hands, have always been Guillorme’s calling card. But it was his bat that helped the Mets accomplish several notable feats on Monday, as their 14 hits through the first four innings tied a club record. They also plated multiple runs in the first four innings for the first time since May 29, 1994.

Late in the evening with the game already out of reach, Alonso launched his 13th homer of the season, taking a pitch at the knees into straightaway center field. Marte’s 3-for-4 line with four RBI looked pretty great too, as did two more hits and a walk for on-base machine Mark Canha.

Knowing that they run the gauntlet of California teams soon, with visits to the Dodgers, Padres and Angels immediately after the Nationals series, the Mets did not play with their food on Monday night. They devoured it. With embattled Nats’ starter Patrick Corbin taking the hill on Tuesday with his league-worst 6.30 ERA, the Mets are in a great position to keep on eating.

“That’s really what we talked about in spring training,” Plummer said. “That DNA, that identity of having a no give mentality. Inning one through nine — whether we’re up 15 or down 15 — taking good at-bats and playing really good defense. It’s been really good to do that.”