NEW YORK (AP) — Gabriel Ynoa struck out eight over 4 2/3 innings in his first major league start to aid the Mets’ rickety rotation, and New York completed a three-game sweep of the woeful Minnesota Twins with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
Michael Conforto drove in two runs with a first-inning, opposite-field single off Kyle Gibson (6-10) and T.J. Rivera added a solo home run in the third. Lucas Duda went 0 for 2 in his return from a stress fracture in his lower back, an injury that had sidelined him since May 20.
New York, a season-high 11 games over .500, won for the 11th time in 14 games despite resting regulars Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, James Loney and Curtis Granderson from its starting lineup after Saturday’s late-night win, powered by Granderson’s home runs in the 11th and 12th innings.
The Mets started the day tied with San Francisco atop the NL wild-card standings, two games ahead of St. Louis, and their 13 games remaining are all against teams with losing records: Atlanta, Philadelphia and Miami.
Juan Lagares, coming off left thumb surgery, played center field in the ninth, his first appearance since July 28. Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, slowed by an injured right quadriceps during the season’s second half, left after six innings because of a nausea and dizziness.
Minnesota, a big league-worst 55-95, was swept in a series for the 14th time this season and has lost seven straight games against the Mets. The Twins are on track for the franchise’s worst record since the 1949 Washington Senators went 50-104.
Ynoa started in place of 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, likely out for the rest of the year because of an injury to the ulnar nerve in his right elbow that probably will require surgery. Ynoa entered with a 15.19 ERA in six relief appearances and became the Mets 11th starter this season.
Ynoa breezed through the Twins, except in the second. Minnesota loaded the bases with one out, John Ryan Murphy hit a sacrifice fly and Gibson grounded out.
Mets manager Terry Collins replaced Ynoa with Josh Edgin after Brian Dozier singled with two outs in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs before Erik Goeddel (2-1) struck out Kennys Vargas.
Vargas homered in the eighth against Fernando Salas, a drive off the Wise billboard above the bullpens, and Jerry Blevins retired pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar on a popup to strand Robbie Grossman at third. Blevins, the Mets’ sixth pitcher, threw a perfect ninth for his fourth career save, his second this year.
Gibson gave up three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, and Brian Boshers followed and escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam. Grossman tied his career high for hits with four singles.
After riding a horse at spring training one day, Cespedes is to visit Cespedes, a thoroughbred named after him, at Belmont Park on Tuesday.
By hitting a tying home run in the 11th inning and a winning homer in the 12th Saturday, Granderson joined Philadelphia’s John Mayberry Jr. (June 4, 2013) and St. Louis’ Matt Adams (Sept. 4, 2013) as the only players in the last 25 years to go deep twice in extra innings in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Twins: LF Eddie Rosario didn’t play after hurting his left thumb while diving into first base Saturday. Manager Paul Molitor said an X-ray was not conclusive due to swelling, and an additional scan will take place Monday, after the team returns home. … C Kurt Suzuki was rested for the second straight day after taking a foul off the mask Friday, two days after a foul caused a cut that needed five stitches.
Mets: The Mets expect LHP Steve Matz (left shoulder tightness) could pitch in a game this week for the first time since Aug. 14. … Collins wanted to play Wilmer Flores (wrist), but the infielder was unable to swing a bat. Flores has not played since Sept. 10.
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago (12-8) is to start Tuesday’s series opener against visiting Detroit.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (13-8) starts on five days’ rest Monday in the series opener against Atlanta and RHP Aaron Blair (0-6). Syndergaard has a 1.36 ERA in his last six starts.
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