Francisco Alvarez's first home run of spring training powers Mets to 3-1 win over Astros

The Mets got their first win of the Grapefruit League season on Sunday, beating the Houston Astros 3-1.

Here are some takeaways...

- Jose Butto got the start, looking to make his case to fill in for Kodai Senga in the rotation, and tossed two strong innings against the Astros. He allowed three hits over 39 pitches with a strikeout.

After the game, Butto was asked about the potential opportunity to join the rotation and said he's simply focused on doing his job.

"I'm not thinking too much about that," Butto said. "I'm just thinking about my work and controlling what I can control... It's me vs. me, so I'm just trying to do my job. That's it."

Butto made nine appearances with seven starts for New York in 2023, going 1-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 42.0 IP.

- Tyrone Taylor led off the game with a single up the middle and showed off his speed by stealing second base. Francisco Alvarez singled on a hard-hit ball to third base to give NY runners at the corners, and recently signed Ji-Man Choi grounded into a double play to drive in the run and give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Taylor recorded his second hit of the game in the bottom of the third, ripping a single to left field. Alvarez followed that up with a two-run homer to right field, his first of the spring, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

Mark Vientos singled in his second at-bat in the bottom of the third inning with one out and a runner on first base. The 24-year-old got the start at third base defensively, but misplayed a bouncing ground ball to his left in the top of the fourth. Vientos made up for it later in the fourth, cleanly fielding the ball to start an inning-ending 5-4-3 double-play.

- Catcher Kevin Parada replaced Alvarez in the fifth inning and showed off his arm by back-picking the runner at first for the third out. Jett Williams also entered the game in the fifth, replacing Zack Short at shortstop, and went on to strike out in his first at-bat in the bottom half of the inning.

Parada later struck out looking in his first at-bat to end the sixth inning. Williams reached first on a walk in the bottom of the seventh and then stole second with ease.

- The New York bullpen stepped up after Butto's day was done, as four different pitchers combined to throw five scoreless innings, including Tyler Jay with three strikeouts over two innings. Paul Gervase got into some trouble with three straight walks to open the eighth, but then got a double-play and a strikeout to escape with only one run crossing the plate. 22-year-old Junior Santos came in to pitch the ninth and recorded two strikeouts.


Upcoming schedule

The Mets will travel to West Palm Beach to face the Washington Nationals on Monday, Feb. 26 at 1:05 p.m.

26-year-old Max Kranick, who was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in January, is expected to take the mound for New York. RHP Josiah Gray, who went 8-13 over 30 starts with a 3.91 ERA in 2023, will take the mound for the Nats.