Mets bullpen flops as rally falls short in loss to Red Sox
The sight of Seth Lugo or Justin Wilson to protect a lead or tie usually ensures the Mets are in good shape, but Wednesday night they got hit with a double whammy.
First, the ultra-reliable Lugo flushed a lead in the seventh inning by surrendering a long ball to tie it. Wilson took matters a step further in the eighth, allowing three runs in one of his biggest letdowns in two seasons with the club.
All told, the Red Sox scored four runs in the two innings, sending the Mets to a 6-5 loss at Citi Field that snapped their two-game winning streak.
Yoenis Cespedes’ second homer of the season, a blast into the left-field seats leading off the eighth, chipped at Boston’s lead, but the Mets never got the hit they needed against Brandon Workman in the ninth after loading the bases with nobody out and scoring one run. Workman struck out Michael Conforto and Cespedes before retiring Robinson Cano to end it.
Wilson (0-1) intentionally walked J.D. Martinez to load the bases in the eighth with one out before Mitch Moreland hit a squib that Jeff McNeil had to eat, scoring the go-ahead run. Christian Vazquez’s ensuing two-run single provided a needed cushion. The lefty Wilson walked three batters over two-thirds of an inning, including Xander Bogaerts after Kevin Pillar had singled leading off the frame.
Just when it appeared Jacob deGrom might steal a win on a night he wasn’t his sharpest, Vazquez smashed a game-tying homer against Lugo in the seventh, deflating the cardboard cutouts that packed the right-field grandstand in a fake-fan attendance surge. Lugo had pitched 1 ¹/₃ scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Monday for the save.
DeGrom lasted six innings that consisted of 88 pitches and allowed two earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. It was an increase in workload for deGrom, who was removed after only 72 pitches and five innings on Opening Day after back tightness in summer camp delayed his buildup.
Andres Gimenez’s RBI triple in the sixth against Marcus Walden had given the Mets a 3-2 lead, placing deGrom in line for the victory.
Brandon Nimmo’s solo homer in the fifth tied it 2-2 after the Mets had wasted an opportunity the previous inning against Nathan Eovaldi, when Cano hit into a double play with two runners aboard and nobody out.
DeGrom’s 31-inning scoreless streak — which was tied for third-longest in franchise history — ended in the fourth, when Moreland stroked an RBI double to left-center that tied it 1-1. Before the inning was complete, deGrom unleashed two wild pitches that allowed Moreland to score Boston’s second run.
R.A. Dickey holds the franchise record with 32 ²/₃ consecutive scoreless innings, which he established during his Cy Young Award-winning season in 2012. Jerry Koosman is next on the list with 31 ²/₃ innings and deGrom is tied for third with Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Bartolo Colon.
DeGrom fired his fastball in triple digits early. Included was a 101 mph heater to Martinez in the first inning, the fastest pitch of deGrom’s career. Martinez doubled in the at-bat, but deGrom retired the next two batters.
Dominic Smith’s RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning gave the Mets a 1-0 lead after McNeil, Pete Alonso and Conforto had singled in succession.
Gimenez singled in the second inning for his first career major league hit, but was promptly picked off first base by Eovaldi. Gimenez was the starting shortstop, giving Amed Rosario a night off.