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Defense dooms the Mets in Baltimore

With the offense dry, the defense spoils Quintana’s quality start against the Orioles

MLB: New York Mets at Baltimore Orioles Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of a lackluster road trip, the Mets showed no more fight in their final game in Baltimore, losing to the Orioles 2-0 Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Starting pitchers Kyle Bradish and José Quintana held down their opposing lineups for the first four innings, each allowing only two hits while striking out four. The Orioles went to the bullpen in the fifth inning after Bradish loaded the bases on a two-out Pete Alonso walk, but DJ Stewart’s groundout ended the opportunity for the Mets and kept the game scoreless.

The Orioles struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to misplays by the Mets’ defense, first by Jorge Mateo ending up on third base on a ball that got by a diving Rafael Ortega in center field, and second on a hard ground ball that third baseman Mark Vientos bobbled, allowing Mateo to score on the groundout and make it 1-0.

Quintana put in six strong innings, exiting the game with six strikeouts and two walks, but the Mets’ defense let another Baltimore run through shortly after. With runners on first and third and no one out in the bottom of the seventh, a Ryan O’Hearn ground ball ricocheted off reliever Trevor Gott’s glove, falling into the hands of second baseman Danny Mendick. With James McCann slowly making his way to home plate, Mendick could choose to either throw home or turn a double play, but his indecisiveness cost time and forced his only opportunity to second base, allowing McCann to score. A groundout from Adley Rutschman and a strikeout from Ryan Mountcastle ended the inning and prevented further damage, but the Mets entered the eighth inning down 2-0 after another defensive mistake.

The bats weren’t much better than the gloves, however, as the Mets’ offense managed only four hits off Orioles’ pitching. Though they drew five walks against Bradish, their bases-loaded opportunity in the fifth was the closest they came to scoring, as they didn’t record an extra-base hit until the ninth inning. That came off Vientos’ hard double to left field to lead off the inning, the first sign of hope for the struggling offense. But consecutive flyouts to left field put the pressure on pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach, to whom closer Félix Bautista shut the door on a 102-MPH strikeout.

With their sixth-straight loss, the Mets now find themselves eleven games under .500 and two games from the bottom of the division. They start a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs tomorrow at 7:10, with Kodai Senga scheduled to pitch against Drew Smyly.

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: José Quintana, 6% WPA

Big Mets loser: Pete Alonso, -17% WPA

Mets pitchers: +9% WPA

Mets hitters: -59% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Mark Vientos double, +8.7% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Jorge Mateo triple, -10% WPA