On a night of solemn ceremony the Mets had their sites set on helping their ace and continuing their late season surge, but the vexing Miami Marlins had other ideas.
Jacob deGrom was sensational as usual, but again, his teammates failed to provide enough support for a win. Not only did they only muster one run against Jose Urena but the two runs scored on them came courtesy of two hits that could have been outs with better defense.
deGrom was on fire through the first three innings, placing high 90s fastballs wherever he wanted to the tune of six quick strikeouts. In the fourth inning, Brian Anderson reached first on an infield hit and then the ever-pesky Derek Dietrich hung in through a nine pitch at bat to bloop a single to left field. deGrom got ahead of Lewis Brinson 0-2 and tried to blow him away with his signature high hard one, but Brinson somehow got around on it, launching it over center fielder Austin Jackson‘s head to plate two runs. Had Juan Lagares been playing, it likely would have been an out, but Jackson got a late jump and didn’t judge the ball properly, stopping short of the wall and watching it bounce off to him.
The Mets hit the ball hard repeatedly against Urena, but mainly right at outfielders. They finally got on the board in the sixth courtesy of a solo home run by Michael Conforto (his third game in a row with a home run). In the bottom of the seventh the Mets got the lead off batter on as Jackson walked, but Kevin Plawecki popped up, Jay Bruce (pinch hitting for deGrom) lined out, and Amed Rosario grounded out to strand the tying run.
In the eighth inning, Anthony Swarzak made his first appearance since going on the disabled list for the second time this season on August 4, and promptly gave up an insurance home run. Swarzak, who had a 2.33 ERA over 70 appearances last season earned himself a handsome two-year free agent contract with the Mets, but he’s been a miserable disappointment with a 6.14 ERA in just 23 appearances this season.
The Mets chased Urena in the seventh, but then managed to go 0-5 against Adam Conley, who entered the night with a 4.68 ERA. The Mets entered the ninth down 3-1 and Robert Gsellman was brought in to try to keep it close, but he too failed, coughing up two more runs to put the game out of reach at 5-1. Those extra runs proved costly, because the Mets’ bats finally woke up in the ninth against Drew Steckenrider. After getting two quick outs, Steckenrider walked Jackson and then gave up a no-doubt-about-it home run to Plawecki to close the gap to 5-3. Pinch hitter Jack Reinheimer drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate in Rosario, but the young shortstop completed his 0-5 day by grounding out.
deGrom struck out nine and allowed two earned runs on just three hits, raising his Major League leading ERA to 1.71. His record drops to 8-9, but he has three, possibly four starts remaining to make his case for the 2018 Cy Young award.