On a night when home runs were to the fore, the Mets couldn’t manage one when they needed it.
Jacob deGrom and Masahiro Tanaka hooked up in a classic pitching duel, getting strikeouts and double plays just when they needed them. It was a play that wasn’t made that proved to be the Mets’ undoing. Brandon Nimmo had given the Mets a 1-0 lead on a homer on the second pitch he saw in the first. deGrom made that run stand up until the sixth. Miguel Andujar led off with a wicked ground ball that Adrian Gonzalez scooped up and threw backhanded to deGrom racing to cover the bag. Tanaka then hit a similar ball that handcuffed Gonzalez and he couldn’t make the play. Gleyber Torres roped a base hit up the middle and Brett Gardner walked. The massive Aaron Judge hit a fly to medium right. Jay Bruce made the catch, but threw weakly on the run to the plate and Tanaka scored easily. Greg Bird struck out to end the inning tied 1-1.
deGrom sailed through the seventh, but in the eighth, that gopher got hungry. With two outs, Torres singled again and Gardner hit ball into the netting that covers the bullpen in center. The next sound you heard was every Met fan changing the channel. In the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton hit his requisite Citi Field homer, making the score 4-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets toyed with the idea of a rally, but just couldn’t pull it off. Nimmo was hit in the arm by a 96 MPH fastball from Aroldis Chapman and sprinted down to first. Adrubal Cabrera dribbled a grounder that Andujar couldn’t handle and the tying run came to the plate in the form of Michael Conforto. On a 1-2 pitch, Conforto hit a flyball off the end of the bat to Gardner in center. Todd Frazier hit a wicked shot toward the third base line, but Andujar smothered it and got the force on Cabrera. Jay Bruce then swung at the first pitch flied out to right to end the night.
It’s Steven Matz vs. Domingo German tomorrow night.