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Former Yankee throws the game to Bombers

A pitcher’s duel came down to a walk, a hit-and-run, and a wild pitch.

MLB: New York Mets at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In what felt like a classic weekend game where the offense never shows up, the Mets fell to the Yankees in walk-off fashion, 2-1. Robert Gsellman did an admirable job of matching J.A. Happ, with both allowing only one run (though Happ threw almost twice as many innings). After dodging some bullets, the Mets’ bullpen finally cracked late, allowing the Yankees to get some revenge for last night’s odd walkoff.

After Happ set the Mets down in order in the top of the first, Gsellman got to work. The Yankees got on the board early when Luke Voit lined a classic Yankee Stadium home run to right. Gsellman worked a clean second and got the first two outs of the third, but ran into trouble again when a fly ball off the bat of D.J. Lemahieu just eluded Michael Conforto’s glove in right and careened away for at triple. Conforto - who slammed into the wall on the play - was thankfully fine, and Gsellman induced a ground out to escape the jam with no further damage.

Unfortunately, Gsellman made life hard for himself in the fourth, allowing a single and then throwing a pickoff throw away to put a runner on third with one out. The Mets’ defense picked him up, snagging Mike Tauchman at home on a ground ball before executing two perfect throws to nab Clint Frazier trying to score on a Brett Gardner double. It seemed for a moment like Wilson Ramos had again missed what should’ve been an easy tag, but the replay wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn the call and the deficit remained at one run.

Steven Matz took over for the fifth and looked excellent pitching for the first time in two weeks as he struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning. What could have been a great building block was quickly soured by an apparent injury, as Matz seemed to tweak something and was replaced by Jared Hughes in the sixth. Brad Brach took over in the seventh and immediately made a mess of things, walking three batters to load the bases with two outs and D.J. Lemahieu at the plate. Luis Rojas turned to Jeurys Familia - not a comforting option, given his propensity for walks and balls in the dirt - who managed to induce a weak ground ball that J.D. Davis handled without issue.

No doubt you’ve noticed we’ve not mentioned the Mets’ offense over the first six innings of the game, and that’s because there was basically nothing to mention. Happ didn’t allow a hit until the third - a single by Amed Rosario, who was then caught stealing second - and gave up only three hits in total, all singles. He totally shut down the Mets over the course of his 7.1 inning outing, striking out five and seemingly functioning on cruise control. In a move that really ground Keith’s gears, Happ was lifted after 90 pitches despite having set the last eight batters down in order.

Maybe Keith was right, because Wilson Ramos immediately punished reliever Adam Ottavino, banking a ball off the left field foul pole to tie the game at one. It seemed like the Mets were primed for another come-from-behind victory, just as they did in both games of yesterday’s doubleheader. Instead, they managed only one more baserunner for the rest of the game, that coming on a hit by pitch in the ninth.

On the other side of the ball, Justin Wilson tossed a 1-2-3 eighth before yielding to Dellin Betances in the ninth. The former Yankee promptly walked the leadoff man, then gave up a single to put runners on the corners after striking out Brett Gardner. Eric Kratz came up to bat with the winning run 90 feet away, but didn’t need to do anything as Betances threw a ball to the backstop which allowed Clint Frazier to scamper home with the winning run.

With the loss, the Mets fall to 15-17, 3.5 games back of the Braves and 1.5 games back of the Marlins for the second wild card. It’s worth noting that the road to the playoffs is slightly easier than it would appear, as the team in possession of the first wild card - the Padres - is also second in their division, meaning the Mets are actually only a half game back of the actual second wild card spot (the Rockies, currently). Anything can happen with such thin margins and so few games, but the Mets are still very much in the race despite their many issues.

To finish up their time in the Bronx, the Mets will play two more against the Yankees tomorrow, with Seth Lugo and Rick Porcello set to start games one and two respectively.

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Wilson Ramos, +24.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dellin Betances, -35.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: +0.6% WPA
Mets hitters: -50.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos ties the game with an eighth inning home run, +24.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jordy Mercer singles in the ninth to put runners on the corners, -18.6% WPA