Kodai Senga Matched His Season High with 12 Strikeouts, Beat the D-backs 2-1

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga throws to an Arizona Diamondbacks batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2023, in Phoenix.

PHOENIX (AP) — Francisco Alvarez homered to tie it with two outs in the ninth, Mark Canha tripled in the go-ahead run and the New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 on Wednesday night.

The Mets won their fourth in a row, but they waited until they were down to their last strike, when Alvarez homered to right field off Andrew Chafin (2-2), the fourth Arizona pitcher of the game.

Alvarez, the rookie catcher, flung his bat joyfully in the air as he neared first base and saw the ball clear the wall for his 15th homer.

“It was super exciting. I did everything to celebrate that moment,” Alvarez said through a translator. “Earlier, in that count, the umpire (Lance Barksdale) called a strike that I didn’t agree with. I had to keep battling there.”

He leads the majors with five tying or go-ahead home runs in the sixth inning or later.

“It’s really the adrenaline that heightens that moment for me,” Alvarez said. “That’s my favorite part of the game. When that game’s on the line, I’m not afraid of failure. I’m comfortable.”

Brett Baty followed with a ground single to right and, after a mound visit, Canha tripled to the 413-foot sign in right-center to score Baty.

Kodai Senga (7-5) matched his season high with 12 strikeouts over eight innings. Christian Walker led off the seventh with a home run well over the wall in left-center to break a scoreless tie, and until two out and nobody on in the ninth, it looked as if it would be enough for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.

Senga said the Chase Field dome — it was 107 degrees outside at game time — reminded him of pitching in Japan, where the 30-year-old pitched before signing with the Mets in the offseason.

“I do think it was similar, no wind and no coldness. I was able to grip the ball and throw well,” he said through a translator.

Senga gave up four hits, including Walker’s 18th homer, and walked one. He threw 107 pitches in his longest outing of the season.

“We knew that he’d had six days off and I think 10 or 11 before his next start,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s tempting to put him out there for the ninth. He never wants to come out of the game.”

David Robertson retired the side in order in the ninth for his 13th save.

Senga and Tommy Henry hooked up in a pitchers’ duel for most of the night. Henry left after six innings and 87 pitches. He gave up two hits, walked four (one intentionally) and struck out two. Only one New York runner made it to third base against the left-hander.

Henry continued his recent run of solid pitching. In his last five starts, he has an ERA of 1.48.

Senga also struck 12 in a six-inning outing against Tampa Bay on May 17.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
After Arizona Diamondbacks’ Alek Thomas flew out, New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga smiles as he slaps hands with shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2023, in Phoenix.


The Mets are 24-11 when scoring first this season. When the opposition scores first, as happened on Wednesday, the Mets are 16-35.