It’s difficult to believe that this game began as a pitcher’s duel, but it did. Ultimately, the Mets would go on to lose to the Giants 7-0 in a game that was scoreless through the first six innings. Zack Wheeler pitched seven very good innings, but this time was not rewarded with a win. This was his last start in a month in which he had already won five games and it’s not hard to see why he racked up so many victories in August.
Wheeler limited the Giants to just three hits through the first six innings before they broke through against him in the seventh. Brandon Belt doubled to lead off the inning and a ground ball to shortstop pushed him to third base. Chris Shaw, playing in his major league debut, then earned his first major league RBI by hitting a sacrifice fly to score Belt and break the scoreless tie. Wheeler struck out Gorkys Hernandez swinging—his ninth strikeout of the night—to end the inning and limit the Giants to just one run.
The Mets’ best chance to score had come in the top of the same inning when Jeff McNeil reached base on a hit by pitch to lead things off. Until the seventh, McNeil had been the only baserunner the Mets had managed off Andrew Suarez, earning himself a hustle double on a slow bleeder up the middle in the first. Austin Jackson followed the hit by pitch with a bloop single into right field to put two men on with nobody out. Wilmer Flores then got a hold of one, driving it into the gap in right center, but Austin Slater was able to track it down. McNeil moved to third on the play, giving Jay Bruce an opportunity to drive in a run with one out. However, Bruce grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. This capped off a brilliant outing from Suarez—his second seven inning shutout in a row.
The Mets also showed some life in the eighth when Brandon Nimmo smacked a one out double against lefty Tony Watson. However, Jose Reyes popped out to second base and Michael Conforto grounded out to second as a pinch hitter to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, things fell apart for the Mets’ bullpen very quickly. Robert Gsellman started the inning—his first appearance coming back from a battle with strep throat. Whether he is still feeling off because of the illness or just didn’t have it tonight, things didn’t go well for Gsellman. He gave up a home run to the first batter he faced—Aramis Garcia, playing in his first major league game. It was Garcia’s first major league hit. Garcia would go on to collect his second major league hit in the very same inning, as the Giants batted around and put up six runs in all in the inning. Gregor Blanco doubled following Garcia’s home run and Mickey Callaway pulled Gsellman in favor of Daniel Zamora.
Things started off well enough for Zamora. He struck out both Joe Panik and Alen Hanson to bring the Mets close to getting out of the inning relatively unscathed. Mickey Callaway chose to walk the righty Evan Longoria intentionally to get to Brandon Belt and Belt made him pay for that decision, driving a ball into Triples Alley to plate two more runs and make it 4-0. The last out of the inning alluded Drew Smith as well, who replaced Zamora and gave up three more runs, the final of which was on an RBI by Garcia, who had homered to lead off the inning. Finally, Jacob Rhame struck out Gregor Blanco to mercifully put the inning to an end.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the ninth against Ty Blach to end the game and complete the shutout for the Giants.
Steven Matz matches up against fellow lefty Derek Holland for game two of this three game set in San Francisco.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler, +17.8% WPA
Big losers: Jay Bruce, -26% WPA, Jose Reyes, -14.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s eighth inning double, +10.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jay Bruce grounds into an inning-ending double play, -20.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +5.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -55.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Chris Shaw