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MLB roundup: Mets’ Steven Matz has outstanding debut

Mets lefthander Steven Matz is the only pitcher in major league history to have four RBIs in his first career game. Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Steven Matz’s giddy grandfather popped out of his seat at Citi Field and shouted with unabashed glee. Boy, did he have plenty to cheer about.

In an astonishing and storybook debut, Matz became the only major league pitcher to drive in four runs in his first career game while leading the New York Mets to a 7-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

‘‘Did it all today,’’ Matz said.

Pitching about 50 miles from home with more than 130 family members and friends on hand, Matz got three hits and helped the Mets to a three-game sweep.

He was awfully impressive on the mound, too, working into the eighth inning after giving up a home run to his first batter.


‘‘He was ready for this,’’ Mets manager Terry Collins said. ‘‘All the things we heard from the guys in Triple A, it was time . . . And today he showed it.’’

The club’s latest prized pitching prospect, Matz had to wait an extra 3½ hours to make his much-anticipated debut because the teams needed 13 innings to first complete Saturday’s game that was suspended by rain. Picking up in the seventh, New York won, 2-1, with help from two miscues by Reds infielders in the 13th.

Scores of fans, some wearing Matz shirts and jerseys, came to see the lefty from Long Island pitch. But what really got the crowd going were his swings at the plate as the 24-year-old Matz, who grew up a Mets fan, rejuvenated an anemic lineup.

Matz became the first player in franchise history — at any position! — to have four RBIs in his first major league game.

He did it with a two-run double off Josh Smith (0-1) over the center fielder’s head in the second and a two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth. In between those at-bats: Matz keyed a tiebreaking rally with another single, making him the first Mets pitcher to have hits in his first three at-bats.


And with each successive hit, his family in attendance broke into delirious excitement — making his thrilled and animated grandpa an instant Internet sensation.

He even slid hard into second to help break up a double play, helping New York tack on a run.

‘‘I don’t like being an easy out as a pitcher,’’ Matz said.

No worries there.

By his turn in the fifth, fans had replaced the ‘‘Let’s go Mets!’’ chant with ‘‘Let’s go Matz!’’

Matz’s at-bats didn’t only get fans, family and friends excited. The Mets were really desperate for a boost, too.

‘‘That was a hit we needed, the entire team!’’ Collins said.

The Mets had scored just 15 runs in 10 games coming in, their worst 10-game scoring slump since September 1979, according to STATS. They have won four straight following a seven-game slide.

Curtis Granderson followed Matz’s fifth-inning hit with an RBI double to make it 3-2. Matz’s two-run single — followed by a big fist pump — in the sixth gave New York its most runs in a game since June 14.

Matz was just as good doing the job he’s expected to do. A second-round pick in 2009, he had his career delayed by Tommy John surgery but has been stellar since at every level. Matz was even hitting over .300 at Triple A Las Vegas.


Matz allowed five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out six over 7⅔ innings.

Some fans booed when Collins came out to get Matz after 110 pitches.

After spending the night at his parents’ house about an hour from Citi Field, Matz sat calmly at his locker before the resumption of Saturday’s game. He had to stay out of the dugout until he was added to the roster as the 26th man for the regularly scheduled game.

Several dozen fans stood behind the bullpen and watched Matz warm up, taking pictures and videos with their phones through a chain-link fence.

Eagerly watching their buddy in the ‘pen, too: budding aces Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. The fourth star pitcher the team has been promising fans to build a winner around, Zack Wheeler, is out after having Tommy John surgery.

‘‘I think they have a great rotation,’’ Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. ‘‘They have a lot of great guys over there and they pitched very well against us and you tip your hat when it’s due.’’

Pumped up at the start, Matz threw a high 96-mile-per-hour for his first pitch to Phillips. The ball glanced off the catcher’s mitt and practically sailed all the way to the backstop.

Matz fell behind, 3 and 1, and Phillips drove the next pitch to deep left field for what was initially ruled a single off the wall. The call was overturned after a review of 59 seconds, giving Phillips a home run on his 34th birthday.


Phillips has hit safely in all 32 road games he’s played against the Mets.

Matz settled in and didn’t give up another hit until Todd Frazier connected for his 25th homer leading off the fourth to make it 2-all.

‘‘He does what he does. He came right back at guys and attacked the strike zone,’’ said catcher Johnny Monell, who caught Matz plenty with Las Vegas.

Tigers 5, White Sox 4 — James McCann’s solo homer in the bottom of the ninth completed a dramatic comeback for Detroit, which trailed, 4-0, in the eighth.

The Tigers scored four in the eighth off starter Jeff Samardzija, including a tying three-run double by Victor Martinez.

McCann’s one-out drive in the ninth off Zach Putnam (1-3) cleared the fence in left field.

Melky Cabrera homered and had three hits for the White Sox, who scored two runs each in the fourth and sixth.

Astros 3, Yankees 1 — Carlos Correa doubled twice and scored twice for host Houston. He plated the tiebreaking run on Evan Gattis’s triple in the seventh.

Collin McHugh (9-3) allowed a season-low two hits — both singles — and one run in eight innings for his third straight win. He struck out eight.

Giants 6, Rockies 3 — Madison Bumgarner pitched into the eighth and hit his eighth career homer to lift host San Francisco.

Buster Posey drove in three runs and Matt Duffy was a single short of the cycle.


Blue Jays 3, Rangers 2 — Josh Donaldson homered in the fourth to put host Toronto on the board, and Drew Hutchison allowed one unearned run to improve to 8-1 on the season. Texas has lost eight of 10.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 1 — St. Louis hit a season-high six doubles to sweep Chicago and extend its winning streak to six games.

Winner Carlos Martinez (9-3) allowed one run and two hits in six innings with six strikeouts — an outing interrupted by rain for 1 hour 43 minutes — while the Cubs lost their season-worst fifth in a row.

Royals 5, Athletics 3 — Omar Infante hit a tiebreaking single in a three-run sixth for visiting Kansas City.

Angels 3, Mariners 2 — Kole Calhoun scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the 10th, one inning after Los Angeles closer Huston Street gave up a tying solo homer to Kyle Seager with two outs.

Dodgers 2, Marlins 0 — Zack Greinke pitched 7⅔ innings for his first victory in his last 10 starts, guiding Los Angeles in Miami. Greinke (6-2) extended his scoreless streak to 20⅔ innings.

Nationals, 3-2; Phillies, 8-5 — Stephen Strasburg (5-5) struck out a season-high nine to lead Washington in the opening game of a doubleheader in Philadelphia, but the Nationals’ eight-game win streak came to an end when the Phillies piled up 16 hits in the nightcap.

Brewers 5, Twins 3 — Ryan Braun and Adam Lind hit two-run homers in the bottom of the eighth to propel Milwaukee.

Orioles sweep Indians, 4-0, 8-0 — Host Baltimore swept a doubleheader as Ubaldo Jimenez (7-3) pitched eight innings of four-hit ball in Game 1 and Chris Tillman (6-7) tossed seven scoreless innings in Game 2.

Braves 2, Pirates 1 — Alex Wood (5-5) pitched shutout ball into the eighth to win for the first time in five starts as visiting Atlanta broke a five-game skid.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 4 — Arizona avoided a sweep in San Diego thanks to homers by Welington Castillo, Jake Lamb, and David Peralta.