July 21, 2024

Mets’ Jose Iglesias gets last word in ninth-inning showdown with Pirates’ Aroldis Chapman

PITTSBURGH — Jose Iglesias has been facing Aroldis Chapman since they were players on opposing teams in Cuba almost two decades ago, so if anybody was in the right spot during Sunday’s ninth inning it was the Mets infielder.

Chapman, the Pirates closer, had struck out the previous two batters with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

Now it was on Iglesias to keep the game alive for the Mets.

Mets second baseman Jose Iglesias throws to first base for an out against the Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park.
Mets second baseman Jose Iglesias throws to first base for an out against the Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. USA TODAY Sports

In a plate appearance that lasted eight pitches, Iglesias battled and drew a walk — laying off a 102-mph fastball for ball four that loaded the bases.

Francisco Lindor followed with a two-run single that propelled the Mets to a 3-2 victory at PNC Park.

The significance of Iglesias’ plate appearance wasn’t lost on his Mets teammates.

“[Iglesias] is a brave man,” Lindor said. “He’s out there screaming and Chapman is staring at him and he’s staring at Chapman. They definitely played … growing up. There’s not too many guys that do that to Chapman, especially when you are 5-[foot-]8 and he is 6-5. It was fantastic. It got me pumped. I think I even jumped: ‘My turn.’ It was a great event.”

As has become the Mets’ latest celebratory tactic, Iglesias’ new song “OMG” blared through the clubhouse following the victory.

Iglesias downplayed his verbal sparring with Chapman, but was pleased to contribute to a wild comeback.

“The at-bat could have gone either way,” Iglesias said. “He’s a great pitcher and I put us in a good position to get Frankie up and then he got a hit.”

Iglesias was asked what he said to Chapman.

“It was just like, ‘Let’s compete,’ ” Iglesias said. “He’s a gamer … and it was a battle.”

Aroldis Chapman allowed a critical walk to Jose Iglesias on Sunday.
Aroldis Chapman allowed a critical walk to Jose Iglesias on Sunday. Getty Images

Harrison Bader is on a “day-to-day” schedule following his collision with the outfield fence on Tuesday in Washington, according to manager Carlos Mendoza.

After missing two starts Bader returned to the starting lineup on Friday and played two straight games, but was on the bench to start Sunday.

Brandon Nimmo played center field, with Jeff McNeil in left field and DJ Stewart in right.

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Bader, who entered as a defensive replacement and singled against Chapman as part of the Mets’ ninth-inning rally, has dealt with neck discomfort since the collision.

“He continues to get treatment and wanted to be in there today,” Mendoza said. “I think we have to be careful and make sure this doesn’t turn into a long-term injury.”

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