The losing streak is over, but the Mets’ casualties continue to mount at a head-spinning rate.
ATLANTA — The losing streak is over, but the Mets’ casualties continue to mount at a head-spinning rate.
Scariest of all Monday night was the sight of blood pouring from Kevin Pillar’s face at Truist Park after he was beaned by Jacob Webb’s 94 mph fastball in the seventh inning. Pillar, who crumpled to the ground in the batter’s box, eventually walked off the field.
Taijuan Walker earlier departed with left-side tightness, so a 3-1 victory over the Braves that snapped the Mets’ three-game skid couldn’t be fully celebrated. Before the game, the Mets placed Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil on the injured list with hamstring injuries, boosting the IL count to 11 players.
Pillar was taken to a local hospital for a CT scan, according to manager Luis Rojas, who added it was a positive sign Pillar could walk off the field.
“Thanks to everyone that has reached out!” Pillar tweeted after the game. “Scary moment, but I’m doing fine.”
“This guy is a warrior,” Rojas said. “He shows up every day to play hard and he got up on his feet and left. There’s no chance I thought he was going to be able to do that after I saw the ball hit him in the face.”
Walker appeared in discomfort on the mound during the third inning. He kept the bat on his shoulder during his first plate appearance, a continuation of the approach he took last Wednesday at Citi Field with Matt Harvey on the mound.
Walker said the side has bothered him for “a couple of weeks,” but he believes the discomfort can be managed without an IL stint. But he expects to receive an MRI exam on Tuesday that will provide the Mets with further information.
“I was able to get through my start last week with it, but just today it was grabbing a little bit and I couldn’t throw my best stuff up there so there was really no point to keep going and making it worse,” Walker said. “Today I got through three [innings] and that basically was all that I had for today.”
Over three shutout innings in which he threw 33 pitches, Walker allowed one hit and lowered his ERA to 2.05. The right-hander has pitched to a 0.98 WHIP in eight starts.
“We think we probably caught it in time,” Rojas said of Walker’s side tightness.
Sean Reid-Foley replaced Walker and gave the Mets a chance by firing three perfect innings to keep the game scoreless. It was a fourth scoreless appearance in five for Reid-Foley, who has shuttled between Triple-A Syracuse and the Mets.
Jeurys Familia worked a scoreless seventh before Trevor May dented in the eighth, surrendering a solo homer to Austin Riley for the Braves’ second hit of the game. May allowed a double to Guillermo Heredia before retiring Pablo Sandoval and Ehire Adrianza. Edwin Diaz worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.
The Mets are already hurting for starting pitching, with Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard all on the injured list. DeGrom is expected to throw a bullpen session Tuesday that could place him in position for a weekend return.
With Conforto and McNeil placed on the IL before the game with hamstring injuries, Rojas unveiled a lineup that included Johneshwy Fargas playing right field in his major league debut.
James McCann stroked a pinch-hit double in the seventh that brought in Tomas Nido with the game’s first run. After Fargas bunted McCann to third, Francisco Lindor walked and stole second. Dominic Smith was intentionally walked to load the bases. Pillar was then hit in the face to force in the second run.
“He gets hit by the pitch and the last thing on my mind is going to touch home plate,” McCann said. “Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with him and that’s just a scary moment.
“You wonder if he’s OK. The thought of standing in the box, the normal person doesn’t realize how fast that ball is coming in there and how quick you have to react. It was just one of those things, that ball looked like it was chasing him.”
Fargas stroked an RBI double (for his first major league hit) in the eighth inning to extend the Mets’ lead to 3-0.
Braves starter Max Fried was removed after six innings for precautionary reasons with cramping in his left hand. The lefty allowed one earned run on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Puma