Jeremy Hefner had a very good first half of the season, but he continued a string of poor starts with a rough one in Arizona as the Mets lost a close game on Friday night.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first inning, but Marlon Byrd drilled a ball to right-center field to lead off the third inning. Thanks to the wacky dimensions of Chase Field’s center field fence, the ball didn’t quite make it out of the park for a home run, but it bounced a long way from right-center to left-center.
Without a Diamondback outfielder anywhere near the ball, Byrd had an easy triple, and Tim Teufel sent him home to attempt an inside-the-park home run. A pair of perfect throws beat Byrd to the plate, however, and he was called out on a very close play there. While the decision to send Byrd might look foolish in hindsight, it very nearly worked out.
The Mets didn’t score in the second or third, but they got on the scoreboard first in the fourth. A two-out single by Justin Turner scored Josh Satin, who had walked and advanced to second base on wild pitch by Patrick Corbin.
A couple innings later, Hefner finally ran into trouble. Throughout his start, Hefner gave up a ton of hard contact, but he got away with it through the first four frames. With two outs and nobody on in the fifth, Hefner allowed three consecutive doubles, the first of which was hit by Corbin.
Justin Turner drove in another run to tie the game in the sixth inning, but Arizona answered in the bottom half. With a single and two doubles, Arizona scored two runs to take the lead chase Hefner from the game. Pedro Feliciano and David Aardsma combined to escape the inning without allowing any more runs to score, which was key to keeping the game within reach. In total, Hefner threw five innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out just one, and walked three.
The Mets made another out on the bases in the seventh inning. This time, Juan Lagares doubled but was thrown out trying to turn the hit into a triple. Particularly with two outs, Lagares was nearly as likely to score as he would have been standing on third base.
The Mets finally took advantage of the close score in the eighth inning against former Mets relief pitcher Heath Bell. Daniel Murphy, Marlon Byrd, and Josh Satin hit a trio of singles to start the inning and load the bases. Two ground outs later—from Turner and Wilmer Flores—the Mets had tied the game. After John Buck grounded out to end the inning, the Mets had tied the game but missed the chance to really swing the odds in their favor.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out, Scott Atchison—the Mets’ fifth relief pitcher of the night—served up a game-winning solo home run to Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt. The wins and losses don’t mean much to these Mets, but this one stung a little bit.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Justin Turner, +22.3% WPA
Big losers: Scott Atchisn, -35.5% WPA, Jermey Hefner, -30.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Josh Satin’s single to load the bases in the eighth, +13/7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Goldschmidt’s home run, -45.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -45.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -4.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Paul Goldschmidt