|Noah Syndergaard leaving the field after a tough night. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets lost a back-and-forth battle with the Detroit Tigers, 9-8, on Friday night, ending their four-game winning streak.
The Mets won their prior three games in comeback fashion, but they didn't have that magic tonight, as they fell to 24-26, delaying their quest to get back to .500.
"The tale tonight was, after we scored, we couldn't get that shutdown inning we needed," Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said afterward. "You know, if we had gotten one of them, we probably would have won the game."
Noah Syndergaard got the start for the Mets, and the last time he pitched at Citi Field, he made history. On May 2nd, he became the first Mets pitcher to throw a complete game shutout and hit a home run in a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati.
It was clear from the start that it would be a different kind of night for Syndergaard, as he walked Niko Goodrum to open the game, and then he allowed singles to Cristin Stewart and Nicholas Castellanos, which brought Goodrum home. Miguel Cabrera followed with a sacrifice fly to score Stewart and make it 2-0 Tigers.
Detroit doubled their lead in the second when Jacoby Jones crushed one for a two-run homer, and then they loaded the bases, but couldn't add to it as Ronny Rodriguez was struck out to end the threat.
The Mets got on the board in the third when Amed Rosario hit a solo home run, his fourth of the season.
In the fourth, Pete Alonso provided a spark as he led the inning off with a double and scored on a single by Wilson Ramos.
A couple batters later, Rajai Davis singled, and Adeiny Hechavarria got his first homer as a Met, a three-run shot to give them a 5-4 lead.
Meanwhile, Syndergaard had settled down, but in the fifth, Miguel Cabrera connected one that just got over the fence in right to tie it at 5.
Alonso answered that with a bomb down the left field line that clipped the foul pole to put the Mets back up a run.
Once again, Syndergaard couldn't handle it, as he allowed a single to Dawel Lugo and a double to Goodrum before he was lifted. With Tyler Bashlor pitching, Lugo came home on a sacrifice fly by Stewart to tie it up.
Syndergaard went 5-1/3 innings, allowing a season-high six earned runs on 10 hits and a walk, with nine strikeouts.
Callaway said of the reason for Thor's inconsistency this season, "It's really hard to say. I think that his stuff's good. The tale tonight was, after we scored, we couldn't get that shutdown inning we needed. You know, if we had gotten one of them, we probably would have won the game. As far as Noah, kind of going back and forth at times. It's just we're battling consistency - we've got to be more consistent with that. I think tonight he felt like his mechanics were a little off. I saw him down there kind of fiddling with his mechanics in between innings, and it's just a tough game for him."
On if Syndergaard's mind plays tricks on him when he's not perfect, Callaway said, "I think that most pitchers tend to think about mechanics when things are going bad, because it usually is a mechanical flaw. You know, sometimes you've just to say, 'hey, you know what, I don't have my great mechanics tonight, gotta go battle.' I think he's always trying to battle, you've just got to brush the mechanics off for the night and go out there and do the best you can. Unfortunately, just couldn't make it happen tonight."
In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, Aaron Altherr, whom the Mets just acquired, pinch hit for Bashlor and he hit a bomb to left, which went off the front of the second deck to make it 7-6 Mets.
Altherr is the 12th Met to hit a home run in his first at-bat with the team, joining teammates Robinson Cano, who did it on Opening Day, and Rajai Davis, who did it on Wednesday night, in the exclusive club.
Drew Gagnon, who has been superb out of the Mets bullpen this week starting with when he earned the win on Monday, was next out of the Mets bullpen, but even he couldn't stop the hit parade.
Gagnon started the inning by walking Cabrera, then with one out, John Hicks doubled. After Josh Harrison grounded out for the second out, Jacoby Jones laced a double down the left field line to score two and make it 8-7 Detroit. That gave Jones four RBI on the night, remarkable considering he entered the game with just seven RBI on the season.
Jones then came home on a single from pinch-hitter Brandon Dixon, and that opened up a 9-7 lead for Detroit.
On if this was the first night the Mets missed Seth Lugo, who would have likely pitched in this spot, Callaway said, "Yeah, there's no doubt about it. Seth, obviously, lengthens our 'pen and makes us a better team. Gagnon's been so good, and he got beat on his best pitch, he just left it up and the guy (Jones) hurt him with a double. That's part of the game, he's got to brush it off, especially with the role he's in for now, he's gotta brush it off and come back tomorrow, just like a closer would. You get in those high-leverage roles, you get a chance to sometimes blow the game or win the game, and when you blow it, you've gotta shrug it off and come ready to pitch tomorrow."
The Mets went quietly in the seventh, as Todd Frazier hit into a routine double play, then was cascaded with boos and Alonso grounded out to the pitcher.
Jeurys Familia was on next for the Mets in the eighth, and Stewart hit a rocket to center field, which Carlos Gomez caught at the top of the wall. Castellanos then hit a double before Cabrera was intentionally walked before Rodriguez was struck out flailing at a pitch in the dirt and Hicks grounded to third.
In the bottom of the eighth, Ramos, on the first pitch he saw from Joe Jimenez, launched a home run to pull the Mets within one, at 9-8. With two out, Hechavarria kept his big night going as he doubled, but pinch-hitter Dominic Smith struck out.
The Mets went meekly in the ninth against Tigers closer Shane Greene, who earned his 16th save of the season.