Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) high-fives Michael Conforto after hitting a grand slam against the Washington Nationals on April 5, 2018, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

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Schwei's Mets Notes: Amazin' Start, Familia's Saves, Early Grand Slams

John Schweibacher
April 10, 2018 - 1:56 pm
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The Mets have matched their best start ever through nine games after taking the opener of their three-game series with the Marlins, 4-2, in Miami on Monday night.

It is the third time the Mets have begun a season with a record of 8-1 in club history, and the fifth time they've won at least seven of their first nine. The other times were:

• 2006:  8-1
• 1999:  7-2
• 1985:  8-1
• 1972:  7-2

The win was also the Mets' sixth straight. They did not have a six-game winning streak during the 2017 season. 

The last time the Mets won six in a row was in September 2016, and they had not won eight of nine games at any point since April of that same season. 

MORE: Keidel: It's Still Early, But Something Feels Different About These Mets

Jeurys Familia allowed a pair of ninth-inning hits but struck out the final two Marlins batters with runners on second and third bases to end the game for his MLB-leading fifth save.

Familia is the first Mets reliever to record five saves in the club’s first nine games of a season. He had five saves in the Mets' first 11 games in 2015.

Mickey Callaway became the first Mets manager to win eight of his first nine games. The Mets went 7-1 in their first eight games under Joe Torre after he replaced Joe Frazier as on May 31, 1977.

On Sunday night, the Mets outlasted the Nationals, 6-5 in 12 innings, to complete the three-game sweep.

Seth Lugo got the win in relief, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth inning and pitching two more scoreless innings, allowing one hit and three walks with three strikeouts. 

The last Mets reliever to earn a win with at least three innings of work was Josh Smoker, who also had three shutout innings in a 5-4, 12-inning victory over the Brewers at Citi Field on May 30 of last season.

On Saturday afternoon, the Mets beat the Nationals in the middle game of the three-game set.

Familia's five-out save closed out the Mets' fourth victory in a row.

It was Familia’s first five-out save since April 13, 2016, in a 2-1 win over the Marlins at Citi Field.

Familia had five-out saves five different times in 2015 and a six-out save in Game 5 of the NLDS that season.

Steven Matz allowed just one unearned run over five innings with eight strikeouts in a no-decision Saturday.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the only other starter in Mets history with a similar pitching line was Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who went five innings, striking out nine and allowing one unearned run in a 7-4 win over the Braves on Sept. 28, 2006 in Atlanta.

On Thursday afternoon, the Mets spoiled the Nationals' home opener, 8-2, in Washington, D.C.

Jay Bruce put the game away with a grand slam in the seventh inning, the Mets' first slam of the season in the club's sixth game of 2018. 

Here are the earliest grand slams, in terms of games into a season, in Mets history:

• April 1, 2013 -- Game 1: Padres 2 at  Mets 11 (Collin Cowgill)
• April 26, 1995 -- Game 1: Mets 9 at Col 11, 14 innings (Todd Hundley)
• March 30, 2000 -- Game 2: Mets 5 at Cubs 1, 10 innings (Benny Agbayani)
• April 9, 1978 -- Game 3: Expos 5 at Mets 6 (Steve Henderson)
• April 5, 2014 -- Game 5: Reds 3 at Mets 6 (Ike Davis)
• April 5, 2018 -- Game 6: Mets 8 at Nationals 2 (Jay Bruce)
• April 8, 2018 -- Game 8: Mets 6 at Nationals 5, 12 innings (Adrian Gonzalez)

On Wednesday, the Mets swept the two-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-2 at Citi Field.

Amed Rosario’s two-RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth inning drove in the go-ahead runs in the win.

Rosario’s triple was his fifth since his major league debut on Aug. 1 of last season and are the most by any Mets player in his first 51 career games.

Six other Mets had four triples in their first 51 games in the majors with the club. They are:

• Bud Harrelson (1965-66)
• Ted Martinez (1971-72)
• Steve Henderson (1977)
• Mookie Wilson (1980-81)
• Jeromy Burnitz (1993)
• Jose Reyes (2003)

On April 3, the Mets took the first game of the two-game series against the Phillies, 2-0 at Citi Field.

Matt Harvey allowed one hit over five scoreless innings in his season debut but did not get the decision.

The last time Harvey went as many as five innings and allowed no runs was on June 9, 2017, when he pitched five shutout innings in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Braves in Atlanta.

Harvey also had only one such outing in 2016 -- seven scoreless innings against the White Sox on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, in a 1-0 Mets win.

Harvey had a total of 15 starts with at least five shutout innings from 2012 to 2015.

Happy Recap:  Pitching, Pitching, Pitching. The Mets have a 2.25 ERA and have allowed two or fewer runs in six of their nine games. The bullpen has allowed one run in its last 27 innings, a 0.33 ERA.

Nine Miles of Rough Road: Yo-K's. Yoenis Cespedes struck out three times for the second consecutive game Monday night and has now fanned 11 times in 19 at-bats on the road trip.