After getting swept in backbreaking fashion in Atlanta, the Mets traveled to Pittsburgh hoping to turn the page. But new horrors awaited them in Steel City, as they got clobbered by Rich Hill and the Pirates 14-7.
Believe it or not, the Mets scored first in this game when Jeff McNeil laced a one-out double in the second inning and Mark Vientos drove him in to put the Mets on the board. But Tylor Megill immediately gave the run back and then some in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Megill allowed a single to Ke’Bryan Hayes and walked Ji Hwan Bae. Brandon Nimmo then made a nice play on a deep fly ball off the bat of Josh Palacios, but the defense fell apart after that. Hayes and Bae pulled off a double steal and then Austin Hedges hit a ground rule double into the right field corner that Starling Marte likely should have caught, but he either misjudged the fly ball or was too tentative in fielding it. Either way, the Pirates were in suddenly in front 2-1.
Francisco Lindor launched a solo homer in the top of the third to tie the game at two, but the bottom of the frame proved absolutely disastrous for Megill and the Mets, complete with more bad defense. The Pirates loaded the bases without the ball leaving the infield and it snowballed on the Mets from there. The key moment was a double play ball off the bat of Carlos Santana that Francisco Lindor bobbled, thus failing to record any outs on the play. Hayes then smacked a clean single to score two and put the Pirates in front 4-2 and there the Pirates would stay, only piling on from there. Bae then laid down a squeeze bunt down the third base line and Eduardo Escobar threw it wildly to first, sailing the throw over a leaping Mark Canha and into foul territory in shallow right field. Two more runs scored on the play and Bae advanced all the way to third. Though he was let down in a big way by his defense, Megill also failed to stop the bleeding and close the door on innings; he then allowed a single to Palacios to drive in Bae and suddenly the Pirates had dropped a five spot in the inning. The inning mercifully came to an end on a nice diving play by Eduardo Escobar on a sharp grounder by Hedges on which the Mets were finally able to turn two, but it was too late at that point.
Rich Hill cruised through seven innings of work after that, striking out six Mets and throwing a season-high 119 pitches. Meanwhile, the Pirates had another big inning in the fourth. Megill got the first two outs, but once again could not put the inning away. He walked Andrew McCutchen and then allowed a single to Santana that advanced McCutchen to third. That chased him from the game after just 3 2⁄3 innings of work. Zach Muckenhirn—fresh off his recall from Triple-A—then came in the game and allowed back-to-back doubles to score his inherited runners and put the Pirates up 10-2. That closed the book on Megill, who all told allowed nine runs, seven of which were earned. Muckenhirn soaked up two additional innings of mop-up duty after that and allowed two more runs in the sixth to put the Pirates up by double digits.
Despite having scored twelve runs, the Pirates had yet to hit a home run in the game. But that changed in the eighth when Santana and Suwinski hit back-to-back solo homers off Tommy Hunter in his second inning of work. Hunter was fresh off a 1-2-3 seventh, which was the first 1-2-3 inning by a Mets pitcher on the night, but no Met was spared tonight. Hayes also singled in the inning—his fifth hit of the game. Rob Zastryzny—briefly a Met last season—pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Pittsburgh. The Mets managed a five-spot in the ninth, which was obviously too little too late, but it was one of those things that you chuckle at if you have a dark sense of humor as I do. The futile, but amusing rally began with back-to-back one-out singles by Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar and a sharp grounder by Mark Vientos that ate up Bae, allowing Canha to score. The Pirates then pulled Zastryzny from the game to get their closer David Bednar some work, clearly planning for him to record a quick out and mercifully bring this game to an end. The Mets made it more difficult than that, however.
As it turns out, Bednar threw 20 pitches to record that one out. Francisco Álvarez laced an RBI single to score Escobar and then Canaan Smith-Njigba—freshly called up from the minor leagues and subbed in the game due to the lopsided score—badly misjudged a fly ball off the bat of Tommy Pham, which sailed over his head for the second error of the inning to plate two more runs. Luis Guillorme—also in his first day back with the Mets and subbed into the game due to the lopsided score—then doubled into the right field corner to drive in the fifth run of the inning. Bednar then finally put an end to the nonsense, retiring Omar Narváez on a fly ball to right that Smith-Njigba managed to field cleanly to mercifully end this absolutely ridiculous baseball game.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor, +9.1% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tylor Megill, -49.6% WPA
Mets pitchers: -53.6% WPA
Mets hitters: +3.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor’s game-tying homer in the top of the third inning, +11.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Austin Hedges’ go-ahead ground rule double in the bottom of the second inning, -19.2% WPA