|Max Scherzer warms up...even when the mound is being worked on. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets lost a nailbiter, 2-1, to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night at Citi Field in their first game back home after a 4-2 road trip in Philadelhia and Washington. The Mets fell to 22-12 on the season, and they remain the only team with a winning record in the National League East.
This was quite a pitching duel between Max Scherzer of the Mets and Marco Gonzales of the Mariners.
Scherzer went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out six. Scherzer did not get a deicison in this one, so his record remained at 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA.
Gonzalez, the veteran lefty who began the season with a 1-4 record but a solid 3.91 ERA entering this one, went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five.
The Mets got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Brandon Nimmo led off with a single, followed by a double by Starling Marte, and Francisco Lindor hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Nimmo and make it 1-0. Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez made a slick diving catch on that one.
Alonso followed with a walk to give the Mets two on with one out, but they could not add to their early edge, as Eduardo Escobar struck out, and Mark Canha grounded into a force out.
Scherzer retired the first nine Mariners, which made one think of the last Friday night the Mets played at home, when they got a combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Adam Frazier grounded to first base to start off the top of the fourth, but then Scherzer hit Ty France with a pitch, and then J.P. Crawford broke up the no-hitter with a single.
Eugenio Suarez struck out, but Jesse Winker, a Met nemesis from his days with Cincinnati, laced a single to being home France and tie the game at one.
After the first, Gonzalez settled in and scattered two hits and a walk over the next five innings.
Scherzer breezed through the fifth and sixth innings, and with his pitch count low (at least for him), he stayed on for the seventh, and Seattle got a rally going.
Suarez led off with a single and Winker walked before Julio Rodriguez struck out. Mike Ford, who used to play with the Yankees, drew a walk to load the bases with one out.
Steven Souza, Jr., then hit one to third base for a tailor-made double play, which sent Scherzer bouncing off the mound and sent the Citi Field crowd into a frenzy.
In the bottom of the seventh, Gonzalez got Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis to fly out, and Tomas Nido drew a walk to keep it going.
Nimmo hit a dying quail into center field that Gonzalez had a beat on, but it popped out of his glove, denying him a second great diving catch on the night.
Running out of the box, Nimmo made it all the way to second base, and there wasn't a doubt.
That was all for Gonzalez, and they turned to ex-Met Paul Sewald to face Marte with two on and two out, and he struck him out swinging.
The Mets turned to Drew Smith in the eighth inning, and he walked pinch hitter Abraham Toro and Frazier to open the frame.
France followed with a single to right field to bring home Toro and make it 2-1 Mariners. Smith then retired Crawford and Suarez on strikeouts, and got Winker to pop out to shortstop.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Sewald still on for Seattle, Lindor flew out to right field, then Alonso gave one a ride to deep center, taking Rodriguez to the fence to make the put-out. Escobar struck out to end the inning.
Drew Steckenrider came on for the ninth, and retired the Mets in order to earn his second save on the season, and it made a winner out of Sewald, giving him a record of 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Smith took the loss for the Mets, and fell to 0-1 on the season, with a still superb 0.63 ERA.