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Comeback spoiled on Roberto Clemente Day

David Peterson struck out a career-high ten batters and Pete Alonso hit a game-tying homer in the sixth, but the bullpen let the game get away.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How many times have we seen this movie this season? The starting pitcher for the Mets puts forth a decent performance, the Mets come from behind, and the bullpen spoils the party. That’s what happened again tonight in the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Reds at Citi Field on Roberto Clemente Day.

David Peterson really only made one mistake all night, but it was enough to cost him a quality start, despite striking out a career-high ten batters over 5 23 innings of work. The Reds scored first in the fifth due to some shoddy defense by the Mets. With a man on first and one out, Harrison Bader hit a sharp grounder to third that banked off Ronny Mauricio’s glove for an error that advanced Noelvi Marte to third. It was a tough error on Mauricio, who was playing his first game at third base, but they don’t call it the hot corner for nothing. Marte came in to score on a wild pitch by Peterson for the game’s first run.

The Mets made another error to lead off the sixth when Nick Senzel hit a grounder in the hole between third and short that was too far out of Mauricio’s reach and then was booted by Lindor. That error also proved to be costly, as Spencer Steer followed with a two-run homer to put the Reds up 3-0.

In the bottom of the inning, Brandon Nimmo and DJ Stewart both singled off Hunter Greene to bring the tying run to the plate in Pete Alonso. Greene had been cruising until that point; the Reds had a meeting on the mound and David Bell opted to stick with his young starter. That decision did not work out, as Pete Alonso immediately launched a monster homer to tie the game at three runs apiece and like Peterson, Greene was chased from the game before he could record a quality start.

The game didn’t stay tied long, however. It feels like every day a different Mets reliever comes into a close game and the Mets come out on the losing end. This time it was Grant Hartwig, who hit Luke Maile with a pitch to lead off the seventh and then gave up a two-run homer to Jonathan India that put the Reds back on top. The Mets threatened in the bottom of the inning against Lucas Sims, who walked the first two batters he faced and was removed from the game in favor of Ian Gibaut. But Mark Vientos hit a 109 mph grounder to short for a double play to put the damper on the rally and Omar Narváez grounded out to short as well to end the inning.

The Mets rallied again in the eighth off Gibaut, who walked Brandon Nimmo to lead off the inning. Francisco Lindor struck out looking on a borderline pitch, but then DJ Stewart dunked a single into right on the seventh pitch he saw from Gibaut to bring Alonso to the plate as the tying run again. This time Bell wasn’t messing around, however; he brought in Alexis Díaz for the five-out save and with his brother watching from the Mets’ dugout, Díaz delivered. He got Alonso to fly out to center and got Jeff McNeil to do the same, though McNeil’s ball was hit much harder and required a running grab by Harrison Bader on the warning track. Díaz set the Mets down 1-2-3 in the ninth to hand the Mets a loss in the opening game of this series and secure a skinny 0.5-game lead for the Reds in the race for the third NL Wild Card slot.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +24.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Mark Vientos, -30.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -34.0% WPA
Mets hitters: -16.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s game-tying three-run homer in the sixth, +37.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jonathan India’s go-ahead home run off Grant Hartwig in the seventh, -27.2% WPA