In a rubber game that took just a little over two hours to complete, the Mets’ offense showed little fight as the Pirates took the series with a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
After the Mets went down scoreless in the top of the first, Andrew McCutchen opened up the bottom of the inning by lacing a single into right field, marking the 2000th hit of his career. It’s only fitting that he marks the occasion in Pittsburgh, as he has spent the last five seasons with four teams after a stellar first nine seasons with the Pirates. Despite the historic achievement, McCutchen couldn’t advance beyond first base as Mets’ starter Carlos Carrasco got the next three batters out.
The Mets struck first in the top of the fourth with Jeff McNeil’s leadoff home run. Despite playing in all 66 games, it was only McNeil’s third home run of the season, as he’s on pace to have his fewest home runs in a full season since his rookie year. Mirroring McNeil’s season-long power outage, the Mets' offense put up few sparks for the rest of the game.
Holding a 1-0 lead for only half an inning, the Mets gave up a leadoff home run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, this time from Jack Suwinski tagging the right-field foul pole to tie up the game at 1. The Pirates took a 2-1 lead later in the inning after a one-out double from Ji Hwan Bae and a single from Tucupita Marcano. An athletic double play from McNeil capped the inning, but not before the Mets quickly surrendered another lead.
Carrasco scuffled through his 4.2 innings, allowing six hits and walking three but only giving up two runs. He exited the game in the bottom of the fifth with runners on second and third and two outs, but a clutch strikeout from Josh Walker, making his second appearance for the Mets, kept the inning scoreless.
Mitch Keller, meanwhile, put up another quality start in his breakout season, giving up only two hits and striking out seven batters in seven innings pitched. Keller’s lone blemish left the yard off McNeil’s bat in the fourth, and he finished his outing retiring ten Mets batters in a row.
With forecasted rain impending in Pittsburgh, the Mets' offense played as if it was on a deadline. A one-out double from Tommy Pham broke a fifteen-batter hitless streak in the top of the ninth and gave the Mets an opportunity to tie the game, but successive flyouts from Brett Baty and Mark Canha sealed the series loss.
The Mets do not play baseball tomorrow, which should feel like sweet relief for everyone invested in the Mets playing baseball. They host a two-game series against the Yankees starting on Tuesday, with Max Scherzer scheduled to face Luis Severino in the first matchup.
SB Nation Game Threads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Josh Walker, +10% WPA
Big Mets loser: Brett Baty. -17% WPA
Mets pitchers: +11% WPA
Mets hitters: -61% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Tommy Pham double, +13.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jack Suwinski home run, -13.5% WPA