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Lindor leaves hurt, Stroman scraps, bats falter, and Mets lose

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It was a very bad start to the second half of the season.

MLB: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The weather forecast predicted rain all day, and by the end of the night the Mets might have preferred a postponement, as they fell 4-1 to the last-place Pirates.

The Pirates loaded the bases off three singles in the bottom of the second off of Marcus Stroman before rain forced the tarp onto the field. After a 40-minute rain delay, play resumed with Pittsburgh’s starting pitcher Chad Kuhl up to bat. Kuhl worked a 3-2 count against Stroman but struck out looking on a fastball down the middle. On the very next pitch, Adam Frazier blooped a two-run single to left field to put the Pirates on the board. Stroman limited the damage by striking out Bryan Reynolds with the bases loaded as the Mets faced a 2-0 deficit.

The Mets manufactured their first run in the top of the fourth without recording a hit. After Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil reached via a walk and an error, respectively, Michael Conforto advanced Alonso to third with a flyout to right and Jonathan Villar batted him in with a weak groundout to third base. James McCann had a chance to tie the game with two outs, but stranded Conforto on second base after a groundout to the shortstop.

Seemingly at full health for the first time this season, the Mets lineup suffered another injury scare when Lindor grabbed at his side after a swing in the fifth inning, resulting in a groundout to second that he didn’t run out. He left the game promptly, with Luis Guillorme replacing him at shortstop. The Mets classified Lindor’s as suffering from “right side soreness,” with a better understanding of the injury hopefully to come soon.

The bottom of the fifth was by far the most eventful half-inning of the game. With one out, Stroman hit Reynolds on his back foot in a play that was upheld by replay. Trying to advance Reynolds to second, Ben Gamel bunted towards third base, and Stroman barehanded the bunt and threw wildly towards first base. The ball got by Alonso as Reynolds advanced to third, but the Mets caught Gamel in a rundown between first and second. McNeil eventually tagged Gamel for the second out of the inning while the defense made sure Reynolds stayed on third base. Nogowski played Stroman patiently and got a hold of a 3-2 pitch, but lined out to Alonso standing perfectly in the path of the ball.

Stroman and Nogowski began jawing after the lineout, and as Nogowski was walking backwards to the dugout still chirping, Stroman marched towards Nogowski with only McCann as a buffer between them. The benches cleared and some shoving transpired, with Stroman taking the brunt of the punishment, but no heavy swings were thrown as Stroman was taken out of the ballgame relatively unscathed. Stroman left the game after the inning and looked heated in the dugout, and some speculation arose as to whether he suffered a blow during the skirmish.

Pete Alonso responded with a leadoff double in the top of the sixth inning followed by a hard hit by McNeil to center field that Reynolds snatched on a diving play. A Conforto walk put two runners on base, but the Mets squandered the opportunity with a Villar strikeout and a McCann popout. Wilmer Difo punished the Mets bullpen immediately after with a leadoff home run off of Drew Smith in the bottom of the sixth to make the game 3-1. It was the ninth hit for the Pirates and only their first extra-base hit of the game.

J.D. Davis made his much-anticipated return pinch-hitting in the top of the seventh, and struck out looking on a fastball down the middle to start an inning that didn’t go anywhere. Jeurys Familia faced the same fate as Smith in the bottom of the inning by allowing a long home run to Reynolds, making the score 4-1.

McCann reached via a walk with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but a Kevin Pillar pinch-hit strikeout and Brandon Nimmo groundout gave Richard Rodriguez his thirteenth save of the season. The Mets only managed three hits all day and went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position, highlighting the offensive woes the team struggled through in the first half of the season. They couldn’t even celebrate Davis’s return properly with Lindor leaving the game only two innings earlier. With losses from the Nationals and Braves and a split doubleheader from the Phillies, the Mets stand only marginally worse off in the standings from the beginning of the day, but on the field they put together a low-quality against a bottom-tier team.

*illar of the game

Jonathan Villar. The hit was weak, but an RBI is an RBI.

Box Scores

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MLB

Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +20.8% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dom Smith, -15.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -11% WPA
Mets hitters: -39% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso doubles in the sixth, +10.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Adam Frazier hits a two-run single in the second, -17.3% WPA

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