Mets seek series sweep of Athletics (Jul 23, 2017)

BY AP • July 23, 2017

NEW YORK -- A pair of young starting pitchers will look to give their overworked bullpens a little break Sunday afternoon when the New York Mets host the Oakland Athletics in the finale of a three-game interleague series at Citi Field.

The Mets will go for the series sweep when right-hander Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40 ERA) opposes Athletics right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79). New York earned a 6-5 victory Saturday when Wilmer Flores' walk-off homer with two outs in the ninth inning capped a comeback from a 5-0 deficit.

It was the second straight comeback win for the Mets (44-50), who trailed twice in a 7-5 victory Friday, and the fourth straight victory overall. The Athletics (43-54) have lost four of five.

On Saturday, the Mets received four innings of shutout ball Saturday from three low-leverage relievers -- Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin and winning pitcher Hansel Robles -- who hadn't appeared together in a win since April 13.

The trio was forced into action because the Mets' usual late-inning quartet -- Paul Sewald, Erik Goeddel, Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins -- combined to throw 68 pitches in recording the final nine outs Friday.

"If you can help out in a big win like this if you can make an impact, I think it helps the entire spirit of the club," Mets manager Terry Collins said afterward.

The Mets have scored five runs (four earned) in 5 2/3 innings in two games against a revamped Athletics' bullpen that has been in flux, outside of closer Santiago Casilla, since last Sunday's trade of set-up men Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.

On Saturday, Blake Treinen, who was among the players acquired from the Nationals for Doolittle and Madson, retired all four batters he faced before Liam Hendriks and Daniel Coulombe combined to blow a one-run lead in the eighth. Rookie Simon Castro, making his second big league appearance, retired both batters he faced before giving up Flores' homer.

"If we have some other guys, (it) may be a different story," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said following Saturday's game. "We might see some games like (Saturday's) that, potentially, leading up to Casilla, we can't get the ball to him based on the fact that we miss two guys. But it's an opportunity for some of these guys to potentially pitch late in (a) game and come through for us."

Montero and Gossett recorded hard-luck quality starts in their most recent appearances. Montero took the loss Tuesday allowing four runs (two earned) over six innings as the Mets fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0. He has thrown at least six innings in each of his last two starts.

Gossett took the loss in his most recent start Monday, when he allowed three runs over a career-high seven innings as the Athletics fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. It was the only time in the last four starts Gossett has pitched beyond the fifth inning.

Montero has never faced the Athletics and Gossett has never opposed the Mets.

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