A wild afternoon of big comebacks and blown leads ended in frustration — and how many times have we said that this year — for the Mets and Jacob deGrom.
deGrom was hurt by a bad combination right from the start: two singles that eluded fielders and a tight strike zone by rookie home plate umpire Shane Livensparger. Jose Peraza led off the game for Cincinnati by hitting a soft, squirrely line drive just past the glove of second baseman Jose Reyes. He promptly stole second and scored on a dunker to center by the next hitter, Zack Cozart, who took second on Brandon Nimmo’s futile throw home. deGrom was then squeezed on two pitches to Joey Votto, who walked, because that’s what Joey Votto does. After Scooter Gennett swung and missed for the first out, Eugenio Suarez benefitted from the miniscule strike zone to draw a walk of his own. Adam Duvall hit one to just-deep-enough center to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. The Mets got one back in the bottom half, when Jose Reyes singled leading off and crossed to third on a two-bagger by Nori Aoki. After Nimmo flailed at strike three, Travis d’Arnaud hit an extremely slow roller up the third base line and Reyes scampered home.
deGrom settled down nicely after all that, surrendering only a soft infield single to Scott Schebler in the fourth. By that time he was working with a tie. In the bottom of the third, Nimmo singled with two outs and d’Arnaud beat out an infield hit. Dominic Smith then drilled a base hit up the middle to score Nimmo. deGrom was done after six and it looked for all the world like the Mets would get him a W. In the last of the sixth, Smith led off by smoking a liner over the right centerfield wall to give the Mets their first lead of the day. Amed Rosario knocked a base hit to center and after two fly outs, Asdrubal Cabrera pinch hit for deGrom and was clipped in the ankle by an Ascher Wojciehowski sinker. Juan Lagares ran for him and he and Rosario scored when Reyes roped a double into right field. But the Mets’ bullpen — so stalwart the last few days — was not up to the task on this afternoon.
Paul Sewald relieved deGrom in the seventh and it was clearly not his day. He walked Schebler leading off the seventh, and Tucker Barnhart singled to Aoki in right. After a strikeout, Peraza hit a tailor-made double play to short, but Reyes was late making the turn and threw wide of first. Cozart followed with fly ball just barely over the left field fence and the game was tied again. It came quickly untied in the eighth, when Jeurys Familia allowed a single, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a double over Lagares’s head by Barnhart that scored two runs — one of them an overturned-by-replay out call. Cincinnati put this game to bed in the ninth, when, with Hansel Robles on to pitch, Barnhart hit a three run homer to right with two outs. The Mets went down meekly in the ninth against Raisel Iglesias, a d’Arnaud base hit the only thing to show for their trouble, and the four-game sweep went by the wayside.
After a day off, the Mets visit the friendly confines of Wrigley Field on Tuesday, Robert Gsellman taking on the Cubs and Jose Quintana.