NEW YORK — Justin Verlander outpitched Shane Bieber in a marquee matchup of Cy Young Award winners that lived up to its billing, and the resurgent New York Mets edged the Cleveland Guardians 2-1 on Sunday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Francisco Lindor homered against his former team and Jeff McNeil knocked in the tiebreaking run with a sacrifice fly off Bieber in the eighth inning. Brooks Raley closed out New York's fifth consecutive comeback victory — all by one run — since a 6-16 slide.
In just the second matchup of Cy Young Award winners this season — Max Scherzer started for the Mets against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara on opening day — Verlander (2-2) gave up three hits and struck out five. The 40-year-old right-hander became the first Mets pitcher to complete eight innings this season.
José Ramírez homered off Verlander in the first. Ramírez also hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning of Game 1 to give the Guardians a 4-3 lead.
Lindor homered off Bieber (2-2) in the sixth inning of the nightcap before rookie Francisco Álvarez led off the eighth with a single. Marte pinch-ran and dashed to third on a check-swing single past shortstop by Lindor before scoring on McNeil’s sacrifice fly.
In the first game, Scherzer pitched six shutout innings and Brandon Nimmo also homered for the Mets. Marte's first three-hit game of the season included a two-run shot to right field for his first extra-base hit since April 14 in Oakland.
His only other long ball this year came in the home opener April 7 against Miami. The two-time All-Star began the day batting .231. He also cut down a runner at second base with a rocket throw from right field.
Brooks Raley tossed a perfect seventh before the Guardians scored four times in the eighth and took the lead on José Ramírez’s two-run homer off David Robertson (2-0).
Trevor Stephen (2-2) opened the eighth by walking Brett Baty, and Marte homered on a 1-0 pitch. With Pete Alonso waving a towel on the top step of the dugout, Marte emerged and doffed his cap for a brief curtain call.
After a rainout Saturday, Eduardo Escobar produced the first run with an RBI single in the fourth, snapping a franchise-record streak of 13 straight games in which the Mets’ opponent scored first.
Gary Sánchez, making his Mets debut, delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Nimmo snapped a 3-for-27 slump with a long leadoff homer in the seventh.
Scherzer allowed three hits and struck out five. Guardians rookie Tanner Bibee gave up two runs in six innings.
The teams traded baserunning gaffes in the fourth. Josh Bell hit a liner over Marte’s head off the right-field fence but was easily thrown out trying for a double.
The Mets committed two outs on the bases in the bottom half. Marte singled with one out and was picked off first base by Bibee. Sánchez was thrown out at home trying to score from first on Escobar’s single after right fielder Gabriel Arias bobbled the ball.
Jeff McNeil was thrown out trying to stretch a single in the seventh.
Scherzer (204 wins) and Verlander (245 wins) entered Sunday with 449 major league wins — the most for a team’s starting pitchers in a doubleheader, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, since Nolan Ryan (300 wins) and Charlie Hough (184 wins) had 484 prior to Texas' doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 17, 1990.
Guardians: C Cam Gallagher (right thumb) sat out the opener. Gallagher was hit on the thumb by a foul tip in the 10th inning Friday night. … RHP Triston McKenzie (teres major strain) allowed two hits over three scoreless innings in his first rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said McKenzie and RHP Aaron Civale (left oblique), who began his rehab at Columbus on Thursday, will pitch every fifth day for the Clippers.
Mets: C Tomás Nido (dry eye syndrome) went 0 for 4 as the DH for Class A St. Lucie in his second rehab game Saturday. Nido was limited to DH duties after being hit by a pitch Friday night. … C Omar Narváez (left calf strain) is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week. Narváez is on the 60-day IL with an injury sustained April 5. … LHP José Quintana (left rib fracture) threw his first bullpen Saturday since undergoing surgery in March.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Justin Verlander outduels Shane Bieber in Mets win over Guardians