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An absurd, hilarious, incredible, painful loss

Keith’s laughs of pure glee and confusion as this game devolved told you all you needed to know.

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

We’re contractually obligated to write something like “the Mets lost 13-12” in the first sentence of these things, but I’m not sure there’s an adequate way to express what this game was like with a simple score. Yes, the Mets lost in walkoff fashion, largely due to an extremely frustrating managerial error. But this game was so much more than that, containing the single most absurd BABIP-driven inning you’ll ever see, then three even more ridiculous happenings after that. Buckle-up, because this was a wild one.

The Giants jumped on Mets starter Chris Bassitt immediately, scoring three batters into the game on a single, double, and a groundout. These Mets are quick to answer more often than not, however, and they quickly tied the game on an RBI single from Jeff McNeil. Bassitt looked more stable in the bottom of the second and it seemed we were in for a west coast game worth staying up for.

Or maybe not. The juiced ball seemed to make a three-inning return to circulation and things got out of hand fast. Joc Pederson launched a two-run home run to put the Giants back in front. Tommy La Stella added a three-run home run in the fourth, and after the Mets clawed one run back, Pederson launched a second two-run shot in the fifth. Bassitt didn’t make it out of the fifth, giving up eight runs on three homers in 4.1 innings. Nights like this are bound to happen from time to time, such is the way of things.

Many of you probably went to bed at this point. Realistically, that was probably the right choice, with the clock hitting 11 PM on the east coast and the Mets down six. But this Met team is different, and when Francisco Lindor launched a two-run home run in the seventh to cut the lead down to four, thoughts of a comeback began to grow. Perhaps the Giants and Gabe Kapler felt the same, since they brought in one of their better relievers in Tyler Rogers despite being up four going into the eighth.

Here’s what happened next. Jeff McNeil singled. Eduardo Escobar blooped a single. Mark Canha hit a ball hard that ricocheted off third baseman Kevin Padlo, bases loaded. Dominic Smith hit one up the middle that bounced approximately 42 times but somehow snuck into the outfield, scoring two. Luis Guillorme groundout. Brandon Nimmo infield single to Padlo. Starling Marte rocket to Padlo that he couldn’t handle either, scoring one. Francisco Lindor triple misplayed by Pederson down the left field line, Mets take the lead. Pete Alonso sacrifice fly, Mets up by three.

Perhaps that’s a spartan way of describing events, but it also seems the only way to express the absurdity of the inning. The last pitcher to enter a game in relief and allow 7+ earned runs without giving up a homer, double, or walk was Roy Joiner in 1934. The Mets hit at least three balls that probably should’ve been handled and added three more hits on soft contact. Maybe this was just random probabilistic fluctuation. Maybe the BABIP fairy sprinkled an extra heavy handful of dust on the Mets’ bats as they strode up to the plate. Maybe this is just a team of destiny.

Or maybe the baseball gods just like making fools of us. Drew Smith entered for the bottom of the eighth, got the first two outs, then gave up a single and a four pitch walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Bringing in a lefty to face Joc Pederson seemed the obvious choice, but Buck Showalter chose to stick with Smith. Shockingly, that obvious mistake worked out poorly, as Pederson deposited one into McCovey Cove to tie the game at 11.

Now it was the Giant’s turn for absurdity. Joely Rodriguez entered and proceeded to induce three soft hit balls. All of them went for hits. Yes, I’m serious. Buck Showalter brought in Adam Ottavino and his career 4.16 BB/9 to escape the bases loaded jam, and conservative estimates placed the over/under on runs walked in at 1.5. The under hit, as Ottavino struck out Kevin Padlo (who was likely looking for a hole to crawl into at this point) to escape the jam. But now the game was tied at 11, and the specter of west coast extra innings loomed.

Did you think the absurdity was done? Nope. Leading off the top of the ninth, Dominic Smith launched what looked like a lazy fly ball, at least with 2022 balls. Instead, it just kept carrying out into triples alley, and Dom ended up standing at third. Two batters later, he scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Nimmo, and the Mets were back in front. Ahead in the ninth with Edwin Diaz on his way in, things were realistically looking good for the Mets. Yet things certainly didn’t feel good.

Yup. Edwin Diaz clearly didn’t have his best stuff, giving up a leadoff single on his first pitch, but a double play left no runners on with two outs. He then proceeded to give up a single, a four pitch walk, and an RBI single to - who else - Joc Pederson. Three pitches later, Brandon Crawford lined a fastball into center, and the Giants had a walkoff win.

Thirty-seven hits, four hours, thirteen runs scored in the final two innings, and the most absurd series of soft contact hits you’ll ever see. On the one hand, it’s difficult to be mad at such a game - it’s a baseball marvel no matter how you slice it, and we’re lucky to have witnessed one of the all time weird events in the long history of baseball. On the other, staying up til nearly two in the morning to watch the Mets lose, in large part due to a very obvious managerial gaffe, is beyond frustrating.

However you feel, the Mets will be playing tomorrow. Thomas Szapucki will take the mound against Jakob Junis in what is about the farthest thing from a marquee matchup. It almost certainly can’t lead to a more wild game than this, but that’s also a thought most of us had multiple times throughout the last two innings so...who knows what will happen. Baseball, baby.

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue
McCovey Chronicles

Box scores

Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Edwin Diaz, -81.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dominic Smith, +40.1% WPA
Mets pitchers: -162.9% WPA
Mets hitters: +112.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor drives in three with a triple in the eighth, +43.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Joc Pederson hits a three-run home run in the eighth, -45.0% WPA