Nick Plummer hits Major League 1st homer as Mets sweep

NEW YORK — Perhaps no Met has clocked more miles this year than Nick Plummer. Since the end of spring training, Plummer has spent several stints on the Mets taxi team, flying with the team to various locations when needed. He’s been to Washington and Philadelphia without breaking into the active roster, spending nearly as much time on team charters as he has in the dugouts. The outfielder recently traveled from Scranton to Queens to Buffalo, spending five days between games as he crisscrossed the northeast.

Twice the Mets have activated Plummer — once in mid-April and again on Friday, as insurance for injured teammate Brandon Nimmo. The difficulties of this type of schedule are obvious. So it was doubly impressive when Plummer opened the ninth inning on Saturday with a game-tying first pitch against the second deck at Citi Field, allowing Eduardo Escobar to follow with a brace in the 10th inning of a 5-4 win. on the Phillies.

“Oh, I’m so happy for him,” Escobar said. “It’s amazing. I’m so happy for Plummer, and I hope there will be more now.

Until the ninth inning on Saturday, Plummer’s claim to fame at Citi Field was his free music “Super Mario Brothers,” which a team employee chose for him based on his last name – a homophone. of “plumber” – matching that of Mario and Luigi. occupation. The fans took to the air, so Plummer kept it up, listening as he played before his at bat in the ninth.

By then, the Mets had already endured a stressful game, which included a 34-pitch inning for Chris Bassitt in the third, a Nick Castellanos three-run home run against Adam Ottavino in the eighth, and Plummer’s own defense . error in left field. Plummer erased it all with a 389-foot homer to the second bridge right, watching him for a moment to make sure he stayed fair.

“It was a good memory, a good win,” he said.

From there, the rest of the win seemed like formula for a Mets team that regularly string together rallies and late comebacks. After Edwin Díaz blocked an automatic runner in scoring position in the top of the 10th, the Phillies walked Pete Alonso for the third time in the game — and the second time intentionally — to get to Escobar. On that occasion, Escobar made them pay, throwing a right double to complete the Mets’ third victory.

“It’s amazing because I had Alonso walk three times today and face me,” Escobar said. “But I say in baseball, give me the opportunity all the time. A swing changes everything. One swing makes my day, and the team wins.

For Escobar, a veteran of a dozen seasons in the big leagues, it was just one of many career highlights. For Plummer, a 25-year-old Minor League free agent who signed with the Mets in November, it was the first. Plummer became the 14th Mets player to homer on his first career hit, and the first since Jeremy Hefner became pitching coach exactly 10 years prior. A clubhouse employee found the fan who caught the ball and traded him a signed bat, so Plummer could keep his well-deserved memory. He intends to give it to his parents.

“Pretty special in a lot of ways,” manager Buck Showalter said.

A former Cardinals first-round draft pick, Plummer struggled to stand out in the St. Louis farm system before posting strong numbers in the upper minors last summer. Because Plummer finished that season with over six years of Minor League service, he earned the right to become a free agent. Several offers followed, including from the Mets, who liked him for depth of field behind Nimmo, Starling Marte and Mark Canha.

Thus began Plummer’s cross-country journey, with stops in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, upstate New York and beyond. At some point, Plummer thought his opportunity would come. That it happened in yet another dramatic Mets victory seemed fitting, given the diverse cast of characters that helped this club rise to the top of baseball’s biggest division.

“I knew coming here after signing in free agency that this would be a winning ball club,” Plummer said. ” It was really great. For them to pick me up in the free agency market was a big compliment to me, especially after my tenure with the Cardinals. Just to come here and help the team win, you can’t ask for much more.

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