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 2/3 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 a 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.
Springer homered on Verlander’s second pitch for his 54th leadoff homer, tying Alfonso Soriano for second behind Rickey Henderson’s 81.
New York has been outscored 46-13 in the first inning this season.
Verlander (2-3) gave up five hits and struck out out eight over six innings. He threw 117 pitches, the most by a big leaguer this season and the most for Verlander since 2019, before he had Tommy John surgery.
“Thankful for the opportunity and glad I was able to come through,” Verlander said.
Nimmo struck out in the eighth when plate umpire Nic Lentz called a pitch clock violation with a 2-2 count.
“Seems ticky-tack,” Nimmo said. “I was in the box at 8 seconds, Usually we get a little more time on foul balls — maybe that’s been wrong, but we usually do. And he was on the mound — sorry, not on the mound, but on the rubber at 9 seconds, and I was in the box at 8 seconds, but because I wasn’t looking at the pitcher, I got it. So just seems ticky-tack. You’re slowing down the game more by coming out and calling that than just letting the pitch go.”
LOU GEHRIG DAY
Varsho, whose mother-in-law died in 2018 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said it was an emotional to homered on the third annual Lou Gehrig Day. The Hall of Fame first baseman died of ALS — now known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — on June 2, 1941.
“To be able to have a special moment — I know she’s probably watching over me,” Varsho said.
Prior to the game, the Mets presented a check for $10,000 to Project ALS in honor of Sarah Langs, a writer and researcher with MLB.com who announced her ALS diagnosis last fall.
Langs’ boyfriend, Matt Williams, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Mets infielder Eduardo Escobar before the trio posed for a picture.
Blue Jays: RHP Zach Pop (right hamstring strain) threw a perfect inning in his second rehab game with Single-A Dunedin.
Mets: C Omar Narváez (left calf strain) went 0 for 5 for Triple-A Syracuse in his fifth rehab game. Eppler said Narváez is on pace to return from the 60-day injured list next week. … OF Tim Locastro (torn UCL in right thumb) hopes to be back in July.
Reporting by The Associated Press.