You can’t say the Mets didn’t have their chances tonight. Unfortunately, they hardly took advantage as they left runners on base in six out of ten innings.
It started with the very first batter. Brandon Nimmo led off the game against Taijuan Walker by hitting a twisting fly ball over the head of left fielder David Peralta, good for a double. He was caught trying to cross to third, overly aggressive on a one-hopper back to the pitcher by Michael Conforto. It continued this way for much of the game: the Mets getting a man or two on, then leaving them there. They went two-for-twelve with runners in scoring position.
For his part, Robert Gsellman pitched very well. Yet another New York lapse on defense is what did him in. In the fourth, Jake Lamb led off for Arizona by drawing a walk. The dangerous Paul Goldschmidt bounced back to the mound for a swinging-bunt out as Lamb went to second. J.D. Martinez hit a rope to left that Yoenis Cespedes played on a hop. Wilmer Flores should have been the cutoff man, but was late getting into that position as Cespedes — having no guide for a throw — sailed one to the plate, far too late to get Lamb as Martinez scooted into second.
Both starters were gone by the seventh and in that seventh, the Mets finally broke through. Travis d’Arnaud was double-switched in and led off with a double to the right field corner. Nimmo dropped a sacrifice bunt to the mound and D’Back manager Tory Lovullo waved in Archie Bradley to stem the tide. He could not. Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk, as did Conforto. Cespedes then cracked a base hit into left, knocking d’Arnaud home. Cabrera tried to score behind him, but Peralta’s throw nailed him at the plate, a call upheld by replay.
Jerry Blevins started the eighth by walking Lamb, but Paul Sewald came on to get Goldshmidt to hit into a double-play and Martinez to sky to Conforto in right. Bradley pitched a clean eighth, A. J. Ramos did the same in the top of the ninth. The Mets went down in order in the bottom of the ninth against rookie Jimmie Sherfy.
In the top of the tenth, Erik Goeddel came on for the Mets and got in hot water right away, walking pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco to lead it off. Peralta grounded out to Dominic Smith at first base as Blanco crossed over. A. J. Pollock then hit a blast over the centerfield fence for the lead. It was Pollock’s first home run on the road this year. Of course.
Fernando Rodney, the veteran closer with the cockeyed cap, came on to close it out for Arizona and promptly gave up a leadoff homer to Conforto. Cespedes popped out to Goldschmidt. Flores worked a eleven-pitch at bat before he lined out to second. That left it to the young Smith, who popped out to left on a 3-1 pitch.
Too many lost opportunities in this one.
Tommy Milone makes his return for the Mets, in place of the surgery-bound Steven Matz, opposed by Patrick Corbin.