Yes, you read that right: a six-run loss in ten innings.
The Mets limped home from their 2-5 West Coast road trip, right into another marquee pitching matchup. Well, it would have been a marquee matchup a couple of years ago, anyway. Noah Syndergaard took on Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, two teams and two pitchers all down on their respective luck of late. The Mets had never beaten Bumgarner, so this game might present a golden chance to finally break that schneid.
Both teams’ offensive shortcomings were on display early. Joe Panik knocked a Syndergaard sinker into left center to lead off the game and stole second, almost right away. He got as far as third base, but the Giants could not bring him in. The Mets got their first two men on in the bottom half – Jeff McNeil looping a base hit into center and Pete Alonso getting nicked by a pitch – but Michael Conforto popped up in front of the plate and J.D. Davis hit into a double play. In the bottom of the second, Wilson Ramos led off with a base hit and Todd Frazier drew a walk, but Amed Rosario flew out to left, Carlos Gomez popped out to first and Syndergaard struck out. Bumgarner walked on four pitches with one out in the top of the third, but Panik popped out to center and Mike Yastrzemski – yes, grandson of Carl — grounded out to McNeil at second.
Syndergaard ran into his first bit of real trouble in the fourth. Evan Longoria walked leading off and Brandon Belt followed with a base hit. Steven Vogt popped out to right, but Kevin Pillar grounded a base hit into left to bring home Longoria. Brandon Crawford drew a walk to load the bases for Stephen Duggar. Duggar lifted a liner to right that Conforto tried for valiantly and vainly for the Giants’ second run.
Things stood there until the bottom of sixth, when the Mets’ power pulled them ahead. Alonso led off with a deep fly to left center that sailed over the fence. After Conforto flied out, Davis drew a pass and following a mount visit, Bumgarner served up a 2-0 meatball to Ramos that gave the Mets the lead, however briefly. Pablo Sandoval pinch hit for Bumgarner to start the seventh and singled off Alonso’s glove. Panik struck out and Yastrzemski hit into a force play. After 103 pitches, manager Mickey Callaway now decided that this was enough Syndergaard for this night — a decision which may haunt him later on in the season, when he’s wondering how it all went wrong. Seth Lugo trucked in from the bullpen to try to preserve the lead. Instead Longoria hit a rope to left, moving Yastrzemski over to third. Belt then hit long, long shot over Conforto’s head and off the wall in right field. Yastrzemski trotted home and Longoria sprinted behind him, but was nailed at the plate because, for some strange reason, he started his slide about twelve feet wide of it.
So now, it became a battle of the bullpens. Given the Mets’ recent track record in that area, how do you think it turned out? Lugo sailed through the eighth. For the Giants, Tony Watson gave up two hits in the bottom half, but escaped the jam. In the ninth, Edwin Diaz struck out three despite giving up a base hit. Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth. Callaway turned to the lately embattled Robert Gsellman to hold the tie, and… well…
Tyler Austin pinch hit for Melancon and singled. Belt drew a five-pitch walk. Gsellman unfurled a wild pitch to Vogt and the runners advanced. Vogt ripped a double to right, scoring both men and the rout was now on. He crossed to third on Pillar’s groundout. Crawford was given the intentional pass. Duggar then ripped one back through the box, off Gsellman and past Adeiny Hechavarria at short for another double and another run. Hector Santiago came on and served up — yes, that’s right — another double to Sandoval, scoring Crawford and Duggar. After Panik flew out, Yastrzemski singled home Sandoval. Derek Holland came on for the Giants and gave up a couple of window-dressing singles before getting Ramos to line out, mercifully ending the game.
The Mets will try to bounce back in a decidedly non-marquee pitching matchup tomorrow, Jason Vargas facing Tyler Beede, 7:10 from Citi Field.