Chris Bassitt beats Mets, then returns to Toronto to be with wife

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Saturday, June 3, 2023

NEW YORK --Chris Bassitt stood on the mound in the eighth inning as teammates patted him on the back. Manager John Schneider took the ball and offered the only words necessary: "Go be a Dad."

Taking the mound after a 91-minute rain delay and ready to rush back to Toronto as his wife went into labor, Bassitt shut down his former team on three hits to lead the Blue Jays over the New York Mets 3-0 on Friday.

"I'm sure there's a million things that are going through his mind," Schneider said. "To kind of keep everything in check was really impressive."

Bassitt's wife, Jessica, was due to give birth to their second child after daughter Landry. A private plane was ready to take Bassitt home as soon as he came out of the game and got to one of the New York area's smaller airports.

What was supposed to be a 7:10 p.m. start was pushed back by a storm, and the first pitch finally was thrown at 8:41 p.m.

Schneider credited director of team travel Mike Shaw for delaying the plane's departure time. There was no consideration to scratching Bassitt.

"He was pacing back and forth in the clubhouse, kind of just staying locked in like a veteran pitcher does," Schneider said.

Bassitt (6-4) tied his season high with eight strikeouts in 7 innings and walked none, throwing 101 pitches. He remained in the dugout until Tim Mayza struck out Brandon Nimmo to end the eighth inning but left Citi Field before the game ended at 11:12 p.m.

"There's a lot of stress, a lot of pressure just being able to kind of get that game going and kind of get started on time so he can get home for his wife," said Daulton Varsho, who hit two-run homer in the ninth off Jeff Brigham. "It was a pretty cool experience for him to be able to do that and then be able to go experience having his second kid."

Bassitt, traded from Oakland to the Mets ahead of the 2022 season, went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA then signed a $63 million, three-year contract with the Blue Jays. He had not been to Citi Field since losing the decisive Game 3 of an NL wild-card series against San Diego last October.

The 34-year-old right-hander escaped a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the third, retiring Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil on popups around a called third strike to Francisco Lindor. That inning began a streak of 14 straight batters retired for Bassitt.

Jordan Romano finished the four-hitter for his 14th save in 15 chances, the Blue Jays' major league-high ninth shutout. New York has been blanked eight times, matching the Mets' total last year.

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