The Mets used a tried and true — if unsustainable, with this roster and manager — formula to salvage the final game of their interleague series in Detroit: starting pitching and home runs.
Jacob deGrom wasn’t as smooth or commanding as his previous two starts, but he got the help he needed. deGrom put multiple runners on base in each of the first four innings, but was able to induce double plays from the Tigers in three of them. On the Detroit side, Anibal Sanchez cruised through the first six-and-two-thirds, allowing three hits. Michael Conforto got the Mets’ fourth hit, a rocket of a home run to dead center. In the bottom of the seventh, though, deGrom’s magic evaporated. After a walk and a base hit, an Andrew Romine single loaded the bases with two outs. With that, Terry Collins bounded out of the dugout to bring in lefty specialist Jerry Blevins to face the dangerous Ian Kinsler. Kinsler hit a grounder that clanked off Neil Walker’s glove at second and the game was tied. Addison Reed came on for the final out. A second Detroit run nearly scored in the eighth. With two outs, J.D. Martinez doubled. After Justin Upton was intentionally walked, Casey McGhee hit a sharp single off the glove of James Loney and Walker. It was picked up by Curtis Granderson in right field. Suddenly, the entire right side of the Mets’ field ran toward the indecisive Martinez, pickled between third and the plate. Granderson threw to catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who tossed back to third Baseman Kelly Johnson, who swiped a tag on Martinez as he tried to beat Johnson to the plate.
In the top of the ninth, Alejandro De Aza was hit by a pitch leading off, then came around to score on Walker’s nineteenth homer of the season off old friend and new nemesis Francisco Rodriguez and the Mets had an improbable 3-1 lead. Jeurys Familia came in to nail the game down and very nearly didn’t. After striking out the first two hitters, Kinsler reached on another grounder to Walker. He was moving to take second on defensive indifference when Familia uncorked a wild pitch and Kinsler ended up at third. Order was finally restored when Jose Iglesias struck out to end things.
If the Mets are to stay in the post-season race, they have to stop this string of one-game winning streaks. They’ve had nine of them so far since the All-Star break. Tuesday at home vs. Zack Grienke and the Arizona Diamondbacks would be an excellent place to start.