NEW YORK — Paul Sewald had been waiting for this moment since the New York Mets cut him after the 2020 season.
“They gave up on me, so it was pretty nice to get a little revenge today,” the Seattle reliever said.
Sewald relieved Marco Gonzalez with runners at second and third and struck out Starling Marte to escape a seventh-inning jam and keep the score tied. Ty France followed with a go-ahead single in the eighth, Sewald got three straight outs in the bottom half and the Mariners beat New York 2-1 Friday night in their first game at Citi Field.
“The Mariners version of Paul Seward is much different than the Mets version of Paul Sewald,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Sewald (2-1) was drafted by the Mets in 2012 and pitched in New York from 2017-20, going 1-14 with a 5.50 ERA in 125 relief appearances. Before the game, he talked with old teammates and stadium staff.
“The fans weren’t a huge fan of me when I was here, so no need to talk to them.” Sewald said.
He signed with Seattle in January 2021 and has gone 12-4. He started last season in the minors and revived his career after he was called up in mid-May, going 10-3 with a 3.06 ERA. He has a 3.38 ERA this season, his April interrupted by COVID-19.
“A lot of emotions positive and negative when I was here,” he said. “I had moments. There were some coaching decisions that weren’t ideal and there were some situations with up and down that weren’t ideal.”
Seattle changed his way of pitching.
“I don’t throw sidearm and sinkers. That was not ideal when that was the coaching decision over there,” he said. “The fact that I throw rising fastballs and sweeping sliders is different than the pitches I had while I was here and scrapped the changeup completely.”
Seattle, which won for just the fourth time in 16 games, went ahead in the eighth after Drew Smith (0-1) walked his first two batters, pinch-hitter Abraham Toro and Adam Frazier.
With the Mets infield shifted for France to pull, he poked a slider on the outside corner down the right-field line. France is 15 for 30 with runners in scoring position this season, the best among qualified batters and far above his .326 average overall.
“I just try and simplify my approach,” France said. “You don’t need to do a lot. You just need to put a ball in play.”
Drew Steckenrider pitched the ninth for his second save, giving the Mariners a win in their first game at the Mets since June 2008 at old Shea Stadium.
Mariners players shimmied to a JBL Partybox 710 with flashing lights in the clubhouse. Rookie Julio Rodríguez brings it on the road and J.P. Crawford is the DJ.
The Mariners annoufnced a shakeup of eight roster moves before the game. Jarred Kelenic — acquired from the Mets in the Robinson Canó trade in 2018 — was demoted and Mike Ford (0 for 2 with a walk and hit by pitch) and Steven Souza Jr. (0 for 4) were inserted for their Mariners debuts.
Gonzalez gave up one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings with five strikeout s and three walks, falling behind on Francisco Lindor’s first-inning sacrifice fly.
The Mets wore black jerseys on a misty Friday the 13th behind Max Scherzer, who allowed one run and three hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks. Jesse Winker, who had been 0 for 8 against Scherzer, tied the score with a two-out RBI single in the fourth.
After the emotional win, Sewald was proud that wife Molly and 9-month-old daughter Chloe were in the ballpark.
“She’s enjoying five-star hotels,” he said.
Jeff McNeil reached on an infield hit on the 14th pitch of his at-bat in the second, beating the throw from third baseman Eugenio Suárez, who was shifted to the shortstop hole. It was the Mets’ big league-high 56th infield hit this season.
Seattle optioned Kelenic to Triple-A Tacoma with a .140 average, three homers and 10 RBIs in 30 games. Souza’s contract was selected from Tacoma, Ford reported from San Francisco a day after he was reacquired and RHP Adrian Sampson was claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. LHP Danny Young and OF Stuart Fairchild were optioned to the Raniers, and Fairchild and RHP Yohan Ramirez were designated for assignment.
Mariners: RHP Sergio Romo was activated from the 10-day IL. He had been sidelined since April 11 with right shoulder inflammation.
Mets: C James McCann needs surgery for a broken bone in his left wrist and will be sidelined for approximately six weeks. McCann was placed on the 10-day IL and C Patrick Mazeika was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse.
RHP George Kirby (0-0), fom suburban Rye, makes his second start for the Mariners on Saturday after allowing four hits in six scoreless in his debut against Tampa Bay last weekend. The 24-year-old struck out seven, walked none and induced 15 swings and misses among 81 pitches. RHP Chris Bassitt (4-2) starts for the Mets.