With his family in attendance, Mets’ Kodai Senga dominates best lineup in baseball

New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) reacts after striking out Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Taylor Walls (not pictured) during the sixth inning at Citi Field.

Pete Alonso and the youngsters stole the show Wednesday night in the Mets’ thrilling 9-8 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, but we can’t forget the performance that helped keep them in that ballgame.

Kodai Senga put together perhaps his best outing at the big league level. With his family in attendance for the first time in his MLB career, Senga was in complete control from the start against the best lineup in baseball.

“I’m just glad I didn’t get boo’d while they were there, I think I did well today. I pitched like they knew I know how to and I think I did well,” Senga said through a translator following the win.

Senga ran into some early trouble, as a Wander Franco walk and stolen base put him in scoring position, but a lineout and his second strikeout of the night helped the righty get out of it. He followed that up by striking out three more batters en route to a scoreless second.

The right-hander cruised through the third, but again ran into some trouble in the fourth. Tampa was finally able to get to him as doubles from Brandon Lowe and Isaac Paredes gave them the lead.

After that, he rebounded to strike out the next two batters. He worked effortlessly through the fifth and was starting to run out of steam in the sixth, but was able to strike out Taylor Walls on a 3-2 pitch to end his night.

Senga held the high-powered Rays offense to just the one run on three hits while walking three and striking out a career-high 12. He now has a 3.77 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts through eight starts.

Coming off a rough start against the Reds his last time out, Senga knew he had to rebound in front of the hometown fans this time.

“Going into the game I felt really prepared and ready to fight against this team. Though I did give up that first run to them, and I need to clean that up a little bit going forward, especially against a good team like that,” he said.

“I knew that they were a really good team going into it given their record. And I know that we’ve been on a bit of a cold streak recently, and I didn’t pitch great last time, so I did whatever I needed to do to prepare this time and it worked out well.”

Senga will likely take the ball next when the Mets open their road trip on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.