MIAMI (AP) — Brandon Nimmo broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double, sending Max Scherzer and the New York Mets past the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Thursday.
Scherzer (1-0) coughed up a three-run lead but threw six solid innings in a matchup with NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara as the Mets improved to 41-21 on opening day — the best record in baseball.
Garrett Cooper tied it 3-all in the sixth with a two-run homer off Scherzer. Jacob Stallings led off the inning with a single and scored on Luis Arraez's double.
“Ran into a little trouble there in the sixth, a couple extra hits and a homer really kind of puts a sour taste in your mouth finishing the day," Scherzer said.
Nimmo had three RBIs from the leadoff spot after re-signing with the Mets in the offseason for $162 million over eight years. He ripped a low slider from reliever Tanner Scott (0-1) into center field to put New York ahead 5-3 in the seventh, propelling the Mets to their 41st win in the past 53 openers.
“The slider stayed over home plate,” Nimmo said. "I kind of dug it out a little bit and was able to get the barrel there. Just happy to see it fall and get past Jazz (Chisholm Jr.) and let the guys run.”
Nimmo also had a sacrifice fly that scored Daniel Vogelbach for a 1-0 lead.
Before the opener, the Mets placed Justin Verlander on the injured list with a strained upper back muscle, sidelining the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner before his first appearance with the team.
Miami fell to 12-19 on opening day as rookie manager Skip Schumaker began his Marlins tenure with a loss.
Arraez was 2 for 4 and had a leadoff single in his first Marlins at-bat after Minnesota traded him to Miami in the offseason. The addition of last year's AL batting champion was meant to be a huge lift for Miami's offense, which was among the worst in the majors last season.
Scherzer permitted four hits and struck out six. The three-time Cy Young Award winner walked two in his first opening-day start with the Mets.
Drew Smith and newcomers Brooks Raley and David Robertson combined to strike out six over three shutout innings of one-hit relief.
Robertson, filling in as closer after Edwin Diaz suffered a season-ending injury in the World Baseball Classic, got three outs for the save.
Alcantara was lifted after giving up two walks and two singles that led to two runs in the sixth. He finished with an uncharacteristic four walks and struck out two.
“First game. I know I have more opportunities to not walk anybody,” Alcantara said. "I just have to keep working hard."
The Mets made it 2-0 in the sixth when Lindor’s sacrifice fly drove in Nimmo. Big league batting champ Jeff McNeil added an RBI single, despite being hit with a pitch clock violation when Pete Alonso, who drew a walk in the previous plate appearance, was late getting back to first base on a foul ball.
Chisholm made his debut in center field after moving from second base when the Marlins added Arraez. Chisholm committed a costly throwing error in the sixth that allowed Starling Marte to advance from first to second. Marte eventually scored.
AN MVP RETURNS
Miami’s 1997 World Series MVP, Liván Hernández, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jeff Conine before the game.
Mets: Verlander will continue throwing at moderate intensity and will undergo more scans in a week. … Díaz (torn right patellar tendon) was placed on the 60-day IL. … RHP Bryce Montes de Oca (Tommy John surgery) and four others were put on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to March 27: RHP Sam Coonrod (right lat strain), RHP Stephen Ridings (right lat strain), LHP José Quintana (left rib fracture) and RHP Elieser Hernandez (right shoulder strain).
Marlins: LHP Steven Okert (left adductor strain), RHP Tommy Nance (right shoulder strain) and RHP Nic Enright (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) were all placed on the 15-day IL. … INF Yuli Gurriel was selected from Triple-A Jacksonville. … RHP Max Meyer was put on the 60-day IL (Tommy John surgery).
The series continues Friday with New York LHP David Peterson facing LHP Jesus Luzardo.
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