Jacob deGrom is going to develop a complex. For his second start in a row, the Mets’ bullpen squandered one of his outstanding outings and the Braves took this one in walk-off fashion.
deGrom and his opposite number, Julio Teheran, were mirror images. Both went seven innings, both allowed only four hits. Teheran didn’t walk a man, while deGrom gave up two. deGrom had ten strikeouts, Teheran six. Neither allowed a run. Surprisingly sloppy fielding and subpar bullpen work were the story at the end.
Wilmer Flores pinch hit for deGrom and led off the eighth with a walk issued by Sam Freeman, replacing Teheran. Jose Reyes dropped a bunt in front of the plate — on which second baseman Ozzie Albies failed to cover first — and was awarded his third hit of the night, and the season. Michael Conforto followed with a ground ball to third. Johan Comargo threw to second for the force, but Albies failed to hang on to the peg and the bases were loaded. Shane Carle replaced Freeman. Yoenis Cespedes flew out to right, too shallow for Flores to score, but Asdrubal Cabrera continued to build his reputation as a Clutch God, delivering a line single to right center, bringing home Flores and Reyes. Jay Bruce then dumped a single to left center, scoring Conforto and giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. That comfort level would shrink in a hurry.
In the bottom of the eighth, AJ Ramos walked Ryan Flaherty on a 3-2 pitch leading off. He got Ender Inciarte out on strikes, but walked Albies. That was enough for manager Mickey Callaway, who waved in lefty Jerry Blevins to face left-handed slugger and Met-killer Freddie Freeman. Freeman skulled Blevins’s first pitch to left center for a double, bringing both runners home. Blevins then got lefty Nick Markakis on a strikeout-throw-to-first as Freeman crossed to third. Closer Jeurys Familia came on to face Preston Tucker and struck him out on three pitches.
The Mets had an opportunity to pad the now-slim lead in the ninth, but couldn’t pull it off against rookie Jesse Biddle. With two outs, Conforto drew a walk and stole second. He took third when catcher Carlos Perez’s throw sailed into centerfield. Cespedes came up and hit what at first looked like a game-sealing bomb to left field, but umpire consultation and TV-replay revealed it to be a foul ball, and Cespedes ended up grounding to short. It all came apart in the ninth.
Shortstop Dansby Swanson drew a four-pitch walk from Familia, leading off. Camargo tied the game with a bizarre triple: a grounder for which Cabrera dove at second base, but ended up splitting Conforto and Bruce an rolling all the way to the fence. The speedy Swanson scored the tying run easily and the winning run was now on third. Pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki nearly ended it with a shot down the third base line, but Todd Frazier was able to knock down the single. Pinch hitter Charlie Culberson struck out, but Inciarte pushed a bunt past Familia into no man’s land as Camargo trotted home.
The Mets will try to salvage the split tomorrow afternoon, Zack Wheeler taking on Mike Foltynewicz, 1:35 at SunTrust Park.