Things were going pretty well for the Mets through the first five-and-a-half innings on Monday night in Los Angeles. Jenrry Mejia looked great and even managed to make folk hero Yasiel Puig look silly twice, striking him out in both plate appearances. The Mets plated two early runs against Ricky Nolasco. But suddenly, it all fell apart on them. The Mets fell to the Dodgers 4-2 in a game that got ugly quickly. Of course, if not for a questionable strike three call in the seventh, maybe things wouldn't have been so bad.
We pick up the action in the second inning, where the Mets have two runners on base with nobody out and John Buck at the plate. Buck would single to knock in the first run of the game and Omar Quintanilla would follow with a base knock of his own to score the second. Immaterial to the rest of the inning, fortunately, Wilmer Flores would look back for the ball on his way to third base on Buck's single and slip on the bag, twisting his ankle. After walking it off, Flores would stay in and score on Quintanilla's single. No harm, no foul (today, anyway).
That would be all for the Mets last night, at least in the runs category. Jenrry Mejia got to work and limited the Dodgers to just three singles over the first five innings, once again looking sharp. Trouble found the Mets in the sixth, though, when Daniel Murphy muffed a playable ground ball by Carl Crawford and then Mark Ellis blooped a ball just over Murph's glove into right center field for a second hit. Marlon Byrd had a shot to throw Crawford out moving to second but was unable to barehand the ball in time. With two men on, Adrian Gonzalez came up and lined a single into right center field, plating Crawford and eventually Ellis, who scored when Juan Lagares' throw short-hopped Flores at third and bounced into the Dodgers' dugout. That ended up moving Gonzalez to third and he scored easily on Yasiel Puig's sacrifice fly the very next at bat, giving LA a 3-2 lead.
The Mets had a great chance in the top of the seventh. With one out, they loaded the bases up for Juan Lagares, a prime situation to get back into the game. Pitcher Ronald Belisario fell behind Lagares 2-0 but the at-bat changed when Lagares appeared to check his swing in time in a pitch out of the strike zone. Unfortunately, the first base umpire ruled it a swing, making the count 2-1. After a few foul balls and a called ball, the count sat at three and two. Lagares took 3-2 pitch that every thought was ball four. Everybody except for home plate umpire Chad Fairchild, who ruled it strike three looking. Gary Cohen fumed, calling it "as bad a strike call" as they'd seen all season. According to PitchFX and MLB Gameday, the pitch may have actually been a strike but it had some wicked movement and sure didn't look like a strike at first glance. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Daniel Murphy flew out to Puig deep in the right field to end the inning.
Nick Punto's solo home run (yes, you read that right) off of Carlos Torres extended the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Mets had another small rally in the top of the eighth, putting two runners on base for pinch-hitter Justin Turner with two outs. Turner entered the game for Quintanilla but considering the damage Andrew Brown did just a day before, it might've been a better choice to go with him. Nevertheless, the Dodgers turned to their dominating closer Kenley Jansen to get a four out save and he did that, striking out Turner to finish the eighth before pitching a scoreless ninth. Good night, Mets.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: John Buck (+12.1%), Omar Quintanilla (+8.9%)
Big losers: Jenrry Mejia (-26.1%) (as pitcher), Juan Lagares (-25.3%)
Teh aw3s0mest play: John Buck's RBI single to center in the 2nd (+14.2%)
Teh sux0rest play: Juan Lagares strikes out looking in the 7th (-14.8%)
Total pitcher WPA: -33.2%
Total batter WPA: -16.8%
GWRBI!: Yasiel Puig