NEW YORK — Bronson Arroyo must’ve had a bag of tricks in that old-fashioned suitcase he carried with him into the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse Sunday morning.
His teammates helped him out of what seemed like a jam an inning then scored the tiebreaking run when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy dropped a potential forceout in the ninth. The Diamondbacks matched a season high with five double plays in beating the New York Mets 2-1 Sunday in the opener of a single-admission doubleheader.
“Kind of a bizarre game that worked out in our favor,” Arroyo said during the brief break between games.
Arroyo induced four of the double plays in matching Mets rookie Rafael Montero for six innings. Evan Marshall (2-0) got the biggest one, though, when Lucas Duda grounded into a 3-2-3 turn to end the eighth.
The Diamondbacks bats came through in the ninth after doing little following Chris Owings’ homer in the first inning. A.J. Pollock doubled leading off against closer Jenrry Mejia (4-1) and pinch-hitter Ender Inciarte sacrificed him to third. Mejia struck out pinch-hitter Martin Prado before intentionally walking Gerardo Parra.
Owings then hit a grounder that third baseman David Wright ranged far to his left to field. Murphy appeared to stretch on the wrong angle for the throw at second base and was off-balance coming back for ball. Pollock scored when Murphy dropped it.
Addison Reed gave up two one-out singles before striking out Juan Lagares. Inciarte, who entered left field in the ninth, made a nice running catch on Murphy’s sinking liner to end it. Reed earned his 14th save in the opener of a twin-bill made necessary when Friday night’s game was washed out in the fourth inning.
Both managers chose not to mess with their rotations for the second game. The Mets will take Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the bullpen for a start in the finale and Arizona called up right-hander Zeke Spruill from Triple-A Reno as their 26th man to take the mound when the Diamondbacks try for a sweep of the doubleheader and three-game series.
Montero and Arroyo impressed with differing styles. The 23-year-old Montero used a 91-92 mph fastball to strikeout 10 in his third big league start, giving fans a taste of the polished pitcher the Mets are hoping he could be. The high-kicking, slow-pitching Arroyo induced four double plays — including inning-ending turns in the second, third and fourth innings to keep the game tied.
Former Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young grounded into two of the double plays. The struggling Mets newcomer left six on in his three at-bats.
Duda had the double play that hurt the most, though. With first and third, he hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who threw home. Catcher Miguel Montero made a perfect relay back to Goldschmidt at first base. Duda also left six on base and was lustily booed.
“He’s just not getting the ball set,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Duda, who stranded seven in Saturday’s loss. “Those flyballs you are seeing, he’s getting under the ball a little bit. This is a big park. You’ve got to get the ball squared up here.”
In fact, the large crowd on banner day at Citi Field was in a surly mood, booing Young and Duda for the failings at the plate, howling at Jose Valverde when he walked the bases loaded in the eighth and really let former Mets lefty Oliver Perez have when he pitched a scoreless seventh.
The Mets were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position against Arroyo, their lone hit by Wright in the first. He followed singles to left by Lagares and Murphy with an RBI single to a similar spot.
That tied the score at 1-all. Owings homered to left field on the first pitch he saw from Montero.
Arroyo allowed six hits and a run. He struck out one, walked one and hit two.
Gibson said he lifted Arroyo because the 37-year-old right-hander had a tender elbow.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll make my next start,” Arroyo said. “But there are just some times when your shoulder is beat up, your elbow is beat up, your back is beat up, there’s times when you’re grinding through (stuff).”
Rafael Montero gave up just two hits and walked three.
NOTES: Wright has four straight multihit games. … Gibson said new Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa is busy assessing the minor league system but they stay in contact with text messages. … Mets C Travis d’Arnaud (concussion) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Sunday at Binghamton. … Mets OF Eric Young Jr. turned 29 Sunday. … Up Monday: The Mets host the Pittsburgh Pirates in Ike Davis’ return to Citi Field. Arizona opens a three-game set against the Padres at Chase Field.