Blue Jays blasted five homers— three off Taijuan Walker, who struggled severely for a second straight outing in a 10-3 Mets loss at Citi Field on Saturday.
The Home Run Horse that now lives in the Mets’ dugout does not yet have a name. Perhaps they should at least specify it is the “Mets Home Run Horse” to ensure it’s working for the right side.
The Mets’ bats were not powerful enough, and the Blue Jays blasted five dingers of their own — three off Taijuan Walker, who struggled severely for a second straight outing in a 10-3 Mets loss at Citi Field on Saturday.
The Mets (51-44), who are expected to debut Rich Hill for Sunday’s rubber game, remained four games ahead of the Phillies and Braves in the NL East.
Walker, an All-Star, had not surrendered more than four runs in an outing through his first 16 games of the season. He now has done it twice in a week — his latest a four-plus inning, six-run dud. In his past two starts, his ERA has ballooned nearly a run from 2.50 to 3.43.
The Mets tallied plenty of hits (10 in 4 ¹/₃ innings) against Hyun Jin Ryu but did not get the big ones Toronto collected.
If there was a bright side to Walker being knocked out early because he was ineffective, it was that Walker was not knocked out early because he sustained an injury. He had raised his gloved hand in a stab at a ball driven up the middle in the fifth and grimaced, and was visited by a trainer, Luis Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.
Fortunately for a team that might be without David Peterson for the rest of the season and whose rotation is filled with question marks, Walker stayed in — until the Blue Jays’ bats forced him out.
The Mets showed some magic in the bottom of the inning, but not nearly as much as the last time Walker was hit hard, when they came back to win 7-6 in Pittsburgh last week.
They cut the lead in half in the fifth, when they strung together five straight hits to knock Ryu out of the game. George Springer, who starred otherwise, could not hold onto a running grab in deep right-center that allowed Brandon Drury to reach second. With two on, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith drove RBI singles into left to make it 6-3.
The rally ended when the Blue Jays turned to Trevor Richards, who struck out J.D. Davis and James McCann. The Mets totaled 14 hits but left nine on base and ground into three costly double plays. After they introduced the Home Run Horse Friday, when Pete Alonso smacked a pair, they hit zero Saturday.
Toronto, who leads the American League in home runs, launched a trio against Walker (Teoscar Hernandez, Springer and Marcus Semien) before Bo Bichette crushed a seventh-inning mammoth shot against Drew Smith, and Hernandez swatted a two-run, ninth-inning homer against Anthony Banda.
Springer, who turned down the Mets for $150 million north of the border and was part of the cheating, World Series-winning Astros, has been booed regularly the past two days. In the third, he helped the Mets and their fans see what they do not have.
Brandon Nimmo drove what should have been a double to the left-center warning track, but Springer left his feet and backhanded a diving catch in a play that will rival just about any you will see. Springer stole extra bases once, dropped that Drury drive, had a couple hits and was in the middle of so many plays in a stadium that notably is not his home.
On a night Walker faced off against a club he played for last year, and when Kevin Pillar saw the organization he knew for his first nine big-league years, it was Springer’s different kind of rivalry game — and a whole lot of Toronto hitting — that helped make the difference.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mark W. Sanchez