The Mets looked to bounce right back from the end of their seven game winning streak the previous night by trying to pull out a bullpen game against the Rays Saturday afternoon. Drew Smith looked strong in the opener role for New York, pitching two strong innings.
The Rays did get on the board in the first against Smith with an unearned run. Yandy Diaz stroked an opposite field double with two outs, and Joey Wendle—who had a huge day with four hits (three doubles)—followed with a dribbler into the shift for an infield single. When Wendle attempted to steal second, Tomas Nido’s errant throw allowed Diaz to score.
The Rays’ promising rookie starter, Shane McClanahan, had looked dominant in the first in striking out the side around a Michael Conforto single, but the Mets were able to get to him second. Dom Smith and (checks notes) designated hitter James McCann lead off the inning with singles. An unsuccessful sacrifice attempt by Jonathan Villar and a Nido strikeout made it seem as if the threat would go by the wayside, but with two outs, Jose Peraza launched a hanging slider into the left field seats—the first three-run home run of the 2021 season for the Mets.
The following inning, Pete Alonso celebrated his hometown return with a long home run of his own, extending the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Joey Lucchesi entered to hopefully provide the bulk innings behind Smith and got off to a solid start, retiring the Rays in order for a quick bottom of the third.
It went south quickly thereafter for New York, though. Starting with the last out in the top of the third, McClanahan and Andrew Kittridge combined to set down thirteen Mets in a row. Meanwhile, Lucchesi imploded in the bottom of the fourth, allowing the first four runners to reach and getting chased on a two-run Willy Adames double to left-center that tied the game—which probably would have only scored one, were it not for Kevin Pillar’s poor relay throw. The botched throw was rendered fairly moot as Sean Reid-Foley came on and surrendered a double to Austin Meadows and a single to Randy Arozarena to cap the five run inning and leave the Mets in a 6-4 hole.
While the Mets were going quietly over the middle innings, the Rays wasted several opportunities to extend the lead. Both Reid-Foley in the fifth and Tommy Hunter in the sixth and seventh pitched around trouble to keep the game close, which looked as if it might prove crucial when Francisco Lindor led off the eighth with a solo home run to cut the deficit to one.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, Tampa Bay finally cashed in—and then some—on another opportunity, ultimately plating six runs off of Jacob Barnes and Jeurys Familia thanks to two-run doubles from Diaz, Wendle, and Brett Phillips to put the game well out of reach and doom the Mets to their second straight defeat. The team will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon behind Marcus Stroman.
*illar of the Game
Umm... Jose Peraza? Guess we’ll go Jonathan Villar: 1-for-4 with a run scored, and a valiant effort at a foul pop.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jose Peraza, +25.3% WPA
Big Mets loser: Joey Lucchesi, -30.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: -59.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +9.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Peraza home run in the second, +28.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Willy Adames double in the fourth, -21.8%