NEW YORK (AP) Harrison Bader broke a scoreless tie with an infield single in the eighth inning and Edwin Díaz earned his first save at Citi Field since October 2022 as the New York Mets edged the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Sunday.

“That was obviously not the most conventional way of scoring an RBI, but it did get the job done,” Bader said.

Mets rookie Jose Buttó and Royals starter Cole Ragans matched zeros for six innings in a crisp pitchers’ duel. New York stranded nine runners over the first seven innings - seven between the fifth and seventh - before Chris Stratton (1-1) walked the bases loaded in the eighth.

With two outs, Bader hit a slow roller toward third and Maikel Garcia was unable to make a barehand pickup.

“I thought it was going to hit the wall,” Bader said with a grin. “That was just a fortunate play and a play that went in our favor, which we like. I think we create our own luck in this field and in this game. That one worked out for us and I’m very happy it did.”

Stratton then walked Brandon Nimmo on four pitches, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. The four walks by Stratton were his most since Aug. 26, 2019, when he walked four in two innings for Pittsburgh against Philadelphia.

“That’s an uncharacteristic outing and it certainly didn’t look like he was missing by much,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said.

Díaz gave up a two-out homer to Vinnie Pasquantino in the ninth before getting Freddy Fermin on a popup for his third save this season. The first two came in Cincinnati.

It was Díaz’s first save at home - where his high-energy entrances to “ Narco ” by Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet became hugely popular two years ago - since Oct. 4, 2022. After signing a $102 million, five-year contract, the star closer missed last season following a March 2023 knee injury sustained while celebrating on the field after Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Brooks Raley (1-0) struck out two in a perfect eighth for the win. New York has won seven of 10 since an 0-5 start, taking three straight series.

“We’re playing a really good brand of baseball,” Bader said. “Just got to keep going.”

Buttó allowed two hits and struck out a career-high nine in six innings, the most strikeouts by a Mets pitcher since Jose Quintana had 10 last Sept. 23. The 26-year-old right-hander, who has made 12 big league appearances dating to 2022, is likely to get an extended audition in the rotation with Kodai Senga and Tylor Megill sidelined by shoulder injuries.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “He’ll continue to get the ball and he’ll get his chance. It’s good to see somebody stepping up.”

After the start was delayed 46 minutes by rain, Ragans gave up five hits and fanned eight in six innings. He was aided by a terrific defensive play from left fielder MJ Melendez, who threw out Starling Marte at the plate for an inning-ending double play in the fourth.

Marte slid hard into Salvador Perez, and the All-Star catcher later exited with injuries to his left groin and hip. Quatraro said Perez would be evaluated again Monday.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better play on the defensive side, aside from the injury," Quatraro said.


Dwight Gooden had his No. 16 retired by the Mets in a pregame ceremony. Gooden went 157-85 with a 3.10 ERA and 1,875 strikeouts from 1984-94 during a Mets tenure interrupted by substance abuse and a suspension.


Royals: INF Michael Massey (lower back strain) went 1 for 4 with an RBI in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Omaha. Massey is batting .318 (7 of 22) for the Storm Chasers.

Mets: DH J.D. Martinez (back), who had a cortisone shot Tuesday, is expected to resume baseball activities Monday. … RHP Sean Reid-Foley (right shoulder) began a minor league rehab assignment and struck out the side in a perfect inning for Class A Brooklyn.


Royals: RHP Seth Lugo (2-0, 1.45 ERA) pitches Monday as Kansas City begins a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Erick Fedde (0-0, 4.30).

Mets: Continue their homestand Monday night when RHP Adrian Houser (0-1, 5.40 ERA) starts against Pittsburgh LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 1.89).



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