Yolmer Sanchez drives in three, Mets' bullpen keeps Astros quiet in 6-1 win

The Mets got two scoreless innings from Michael Tonkin as Tyrone Taylor and Yolmer Sanchez combined to drive in five runs in New York’s 6-1 win over the Houston Astros Saturday night in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Here are the takeaways...

- Tonkin, looking to make his case for one of the last spots in the bullpen, made his fourth appearance of the spring getting the start in the bullpen game for the Mets. The 34-year-old right-hander got Jose Altuve swinging and Kyle Tucker to fly out before a Zack Short fielding error and a hit-by-pitch put him in a spot of bother in the first, but he escaped without damage. He allowed a walk and single in the second, but a strikeout and a grounder to short ended his night.

“Felt pretty good, felt like my stuff like my stuff wasn't quite as good as it has been in past outings in the spring,” Tonkin told reporters after his outing. “But I mean, not, not bad by any means, and we got through it.”

His final line: 2.0 innings, one hit, one walk, one HBP, two strikeouts and zero runs.

- Tyrone Taylor launched a deep homer to left field to open the scoring with one out in the top half of the first. He would add a sacrifice fly on a deep shot to center in the sixth. Taylor finished went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

After the game, manager Carlos Mendoza said he liked the quality of at-bats Taylor had during a solid spring training.

“He’s having a really good camp, he’s working really hard behind the scenes and there’s bat speed, there’s impact and he’s aggressive. And I like seeing that,” Mendoza said, adding he “will get his at-bats” during the regular season with the Mets rotating outfielders.

“He’ll find his way to be in the lineup, it’s always good to have depth,” the skipper said. “Having a guy like that that can play multiple positions in the outfield and give you a quality at-bat, it’s nice to have that.”

- Jake Diekman entered in the fifth and immediately issued back-to-back walks. After getting Altuve swinging, the lefty walked Tucker on five pitches to load the bases and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner visited the mound. Chas McCormick's sac fly on the first offering after the visit tied the game at one, but that was all Houston could muster as Diekman got Jake Meyers swinging to end the frame.

“It was one of those days where he didn’t have it, but he found a way to get out of it,” Mendoza said. “Kept making pitches… he battled out there and kept making pitches. And it was good to see when he’s not at his best he’s still fighting and got through it.”

- Yolmer Sanchez, who doubled to the gap in left-center with two out in the fourth, took full advantage of his bases-loaded chance with nobody out in the sixth inning by knocking a bases-clearing double to nearly the same spot in left-center to put the Mets up 4-1.

- Jose Iglesias, playing third and batting out of the No. 7 spot, had a pair of singles, a walk and a strikeout on the day.

- Brandon Nimmo, batting leadoff, struck out swinging in each of his first two times up before he worked a walk with two outs in the fourth. He finished 0-for-3.

- DJ Stewart walked his first at-bat and got plunked on the back of the right leg his second time up. He stayed down for a while but remained in the game. He finished the day 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

- Pete Alonso singled to center in the first inning and lined out to left to start the third. Alonso faced Houston's tough right-hander Ryan Pressly on his third time up and the Astros reliever jumped ahead 0-2 before getting a lazy fly out to center. The slugging first baseman was rung up to end the sixth on a call that had him exchange a few words with home plate umpire Chris Marco. He finished 1-for-4.

- DH Mark Vientos went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

- Right-hander Yacksel Ríos struck out three and retired all six batters he faced. Cole Sulser did the same, retiring all six batters in the sixth and seventh with four strikeouts. Daniel Juarez pitched a clean eighth and ninth with three strikeouts.

​​Mets pitchers allowed just one run, combined for 14 strikeouts and retired the last 14 Astros they faced.

- Joe Souzzi doubled in a run with two outs in the eighth inning in his first at-bat of the game after replacing Alonso at first base.


What's Next

The Mets will split up on Sunday afternoon for two 1:05 p.m. first pitch games.

Half the squad will again travel to West Palm Beach to take on the Washington Nationals. Right-hander Tylor Megill will start against Washington's left-hander MacKenzie Gore.

The other half will host the Miami Marlins at Clover Park in Port. St. Lucie. Lefty Jose Quintana, the Mets' Opening Day starter, gets the ball against Miami, who have yet to name a starter.