NEW YORK (AP) – Jerar Encarnación was called up to the major leagues, and Miami Marlins teammate Sandy Alcantara made a promise to the 24-year-old.
“I told him if you get a hit or a homer I’ll buy something,” the pitcher recalled as he said on his way back to the team hotel Friday night.
Placed in the exhausted Marlins’ starting lineup, Encarnación made a spectacular major league debut with a clear, seventh-inning grand slam for its first hit. He also threw a runner out at third base from the right field and stole a base, lifting Alcantara and Miami over the New York Mets 6-2 on Sunday.
Call it a fitting debut.
“Let’s go – get my clothes,” said a smiling Encarnación, telling Alcantara after the match.
“Anything he wants,” replied the jug.
Alcantara first met Encarnación in 2014 in San Isidro, Dominican Republic. Encarnación signed with the Marlins the following year, starting in the minors in 2016 and was their No. 16 prospect heading into the 2020 season, after his grand slam next to Washington’s Sterling Sharp won the Arizona Fall League championship.
Encarnación stalled after a year of minor league ball that was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic and was Miami’s No. 22 prospect after a 2021 in which he injured his right knee while hitting a metal bar while chasing a foul ball and then was hit on his left hand by a pitch.
He started in 2022 at Double-A Pensacola, homered in his Triple-A debut for Jacksonville on May 17 and was brought up to the major leagues on Friday after hitting 13 homers in minor this year.
Wearing outdated tall uniform No. 64 and with cousin Randy in the stands, it threw 6-foot-5, 239-pound out Tomás Nido, trying to stretch a third-inning single to a double after a one-hop drive from the right. -markmur. Encarnación struck out and struck out in its first two strokes, then came to the plate with Alcantara (7-2) trailing 1-0 in the seventh.
Seth Lugo relieved Chris Bassitt (5-5) with the bases filled. Encarnación got some tips from beating coach Marcus Thames and came back with 3-1 in the count. He took a cold strike and then drove a 92.6 mph fastball 371 feet to the opposite field and over the right field wall.
“Throw a pretty good back door sink and he just went with it,” Lugo said. “Thinking of staying away was a sure bet.”
Encarnación raised his right arm in triumph while rounding first.
“He kind of showed the whole package today, from his defensive point of view, he runs pretty well, got the power,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I’ve always compared him, and it’s probably not even close to being fair, with Vladdy (Guerrero) Sr.”
Encarnación became the first player since at least 1901 with a grand slam and an outfield assist in his debut. He gave the Marlins a 4-1 lead and became the second Miami player with a grand slam for his first major league hit after Jeremy Hermida against St. Louis. Louis pitcher Alberto Reyes on August 31, 2005. The last player to achieve the feat was San Diego pitcher Daniel Camarena against Washington’s Max Scherzer last July 8th.
Jon Berti hit on an RBI single in the seventh and Jazz Chisholm Jr. a race-scoring double in the ninth.
New York, an NL best 44-24, lost only for the second time in 12 home games. Miami stopped a three-game slip and won for just the second time in 10 games at Citi Field.
Bassitt stretched his goalless streak to 14 innings before the seventh as the Marlins filled the bases on singles by Miguel Rojas and Jacob Stallings followed by Bryan De La Cruz ‘one-out walk.
Alcantara, whose 1.72 ERA is number two in the major leagues behind San Diego’s Joe Musgrove, allowed six hits in eight innings, knocked out eight and went one. He has hit seven innings or more while allowing two earned runs or fewer in eight straight starts, the longest such row since 16 in a row by Seattle’s Félix Hernández in 2014.
Francisco Lindor put the Mets ahead with a race-scoring single in the sixth, his 52nd RBI. Luis Guillorme added an RBI single in the seventh.
Bassitt hit a season-high nine while allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Miami got the ball back from a fan to Encarnación, who left with it tucked away in his backpack. He will give it to his mother, Carmela.
He thought back to his brother, Anderson, who died three years ago.
“He told me I would have to make it to major league level someday,” Encarnación said through a translator. “It was always something that helped me.”
Tommy Hunter hit 1 2/3 innings for the Mets after the 35-year-old right-handed player recovered from a back operation that had put him on the sidelines since May 18 last year. The 15-year-old big league veteran hit two in a perfect eighth.
Mets: C James McCann, who is recovering from a broken bone in his left wrist that has put him on the sidelines since May 10, went 2 to 4 with a walk for Double-A Binghamton and is 3 to 13 in three battles of his rehab stay. … Scherzer (slanted) can start a rehab on Tuesday.
LHP David Peterson (3-1, 3.60) is scheduled to start Monday’s season finale, but manager Buck Showalter said the Mets made contingency plans in case Peterson’s wife were to give birth. Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers (3-5, 5.87) is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.35 in four starts vs. Mets.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports