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J.D. Martinez, Mets stay hot in series-opening romp over Cubs

CHICAGO — The last time the Mets faced the Chicago Cubs and rookie Shota Imanaga, the lefty looked almost unhittable, allowing only three hits and one walk over seven innings.

Imanaga has dominated this season, starting Friday with a 7-1 record and a 1.89 ERA, having only allowed multiple home runs on one occasion.

By the time he exited the game against the Mets on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, his ERA was nearly 3.00. The Mets handed Imanaga the worst loss of his MLB career with an 11-1 win over the Cubs in the first game of a three-game series. It was the eighth win for the Mets in their last nine tries and their 12th in the last 14 games, improving their June record to 12-5.

J.D. Martinez put the Cubs in a 3-0 hole before they even recorded a single out with a three-run homer in the first inning. Francisco Alvarez and Brandon Nimmo both homered in the second to give the visitors a 6-1 lead. The Mets (36-38) added more runs in the third and fourth, chasing Imanaga from the game in the fourth inning after the top of the order went double, single, RBI single to make it an 8-1 game.

The Mets were up 11-1 after the inning ended with Imanaga (7-2) had incurring 10 earned runs of damage on 11 hits. It was the first time Imanaga allowed more than two earned runs, or five unearned runs all season.

Left-hander Jose Quintana turned in his second straight quality start, allowing only one unearned run over 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out a season-high eight.

The Chicago run came in the top of the first after Quintana walked Nico Hoerner to lead off the inning. An error at third base by Mark Vientos allowed Seiya Suzuki to reach base, putting two on with none out. Cody Bellinger singled up the middle to load the bases, but Vientos then redeemed himself by starting a 5-4-3 double play. Hoerner crossed home, but Quintana then struck out Ian Happ to end the inning.

After some tough starts in April and May, Quintana (3-5) seems to be turning a corner, having allowed only one earned run over his last 12 2/3 innings while striking out 14.

Adam Ottavino pitched two innings in relief against the Cubs (36-40) and Drew Smith pitched one.

Former Mets catcher Tomas Nido faced Smith in the ninth with two out and one on in his Cubs debut, striking out to end the game.

While the pitching has been strong over the last few weeks, the offense is hitting just about everything thrown their way. The lineup has been playing exceptionally long, having outscored opponents 48-12 over the last four games.

The top of the order continues to dominate opposing pitching. Francisco Lindor went 3 for 5 with two runs in the leadoff spot, Nimmo went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, three runs and a walk and Martinez went 2 for 4 with four RBIs and two runs.

The series continues Saturday afternoon with right-hander Tylor Megill facing former Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon at 2:20 p.m., ET.