Cespedes Homers in First Game in Two Years, Mets Win Opener Over Braves

Lou DiPietro
July 24, 2020 - 6:56 pm

Two days, two opening games, two wins for New York baseball.

The Mets kicked off their 2020 schedule Friday afternoon in the third MLB game of the year, and the result was the same as that of their cross-town counterparts Thursday night: a victory, in this case a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

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Jacob deGrom opened his bid for a third straight Cy Young Award by pitching five strong innings, coming out due to pitch limit after allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out eight. And, unfortunately, as in years past, the Mets gave him no run support in those frames.

The bullpen picked deGrom up, though, as Seth Lugo tossed two scoreless one-hit innings and Justin Wilson pitched the eighth before the much-maligned Edwin Diaz, whom Keith Hernandez said “had one of the worst seasons I’ve seen” in 2019, came in and struck out both Matt Adams and Marcell Ozuna to get the save.

The winner was Lugo, and he got the duke because the Mets’ most important of their six hits in the bottom of the seventh: a solo homer off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes, a hit important for three reasons: it earned the win, it made him the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history to hit a home run in a National League game (thanks to the universal DH era), and perhaps paramount, it was a huge sigh of relief for Cespedes, who hadn’t played a major-league game since July 20, 2018, and looked ineffective in two exhibition games versus the Yankees last weekend.

Cespedes’ homer also gives him a technical three-game home run streak, as he homered in each of his final two games back in 201; Cespedes hit a homer off the Yankees’ Domingo German in his last game on July 20, 2018, and homered in his previous game before that, going deep against Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola on May 13, 2018.

And so, both New York teams enter the weekend 1-0, with the Mets to face the Braves again on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field, and the Yankees to play Game 2 against the Nationals Saturday night in Washington, D.C. 

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