Saturday, July 23, 2022

Mets Shut Down By Snell, & Machado Blast Enough For Padres


Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell striking out Starling Marte to end the fifth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets suffered their second straight tough loss to the San Diego Padres, 2-1, on Saturday night as Manny Machado hit a two-run blast in the sixth inning to back up starting Blake Snell, who shut the Mets out for five innings.

With the loss, the Mets fell to 58-37, and they are now just a half-game ahead of the Atlanta Braves (58-38), who rolled to a 7-2 win over the Angels. This is the closest Atlanta has been to the Mets in the division race after they were down by 10 1/2 games on June 1 and pulled within 1 1/2 games a few times.

Chris Bassitt got the start for the Mets, and he had a perfect game through four innings, as he struck out six and had done it on just 38 pitches. 

In the fifth, Nomar Mazara was hit by a pitch to open the inning and end the perfect game, and then  after striking out ex-Yankee Luke Voit (what's new?), Eric Hosmer, Friday night's hero, got a single to break up the no-hitter. Bassitt then got Jorge Alfaro and Trent Grisham to fly out to right field to get out of the inning.

San Diego came right back in the sixth, as Jurickson Profar got a one-out single, and then Jake Cronenworth was struck out on a pitch that he, and the San Diego bench, thought was low.

Machado was up next, and it appeared that he was struck out, as Bassitt swept a curveball, but it was called a ball, possibly influenced by Cronenworth's strikeout, that it was a makeup call by home plate umpire Jim Wolf.  On the next pitch, Machado deposited it into the seats in left field for a two-run homer. It was Machado's 16th home run of the season, and it gave him 53 RBI.

Snell, who had just completed five shutout innings, and ended his night with a big strikeout of Starling Marte with two runners on base, one of three strikeouts for the Mets' right fielder on the night. 

Snell earned the win since the Machado home run came in the top of the sixth. He threw five shutout innings, and scattered four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts, to earn his second win of the year. The left-hander, in his second year with San Diego after a long run in Tampa Bay, is now 2-5, and he lowered his ERA (earned run average) by nearly half a run, to 4.75 from 5.22.

Bassitt came back for the seventh, and it was a wild one, as he allowed a leadoff single to Voit, and then after Hosmer grounded out to shortstop to move Voit to second, Alfaro hit a grounder to Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Voit had a good lead, but he ran back to second, which drew a throw from Lindor, and Voit got back in time, but he came up limping, and after a visit from the trainer, he stayed in.

Grisham then hit one to first base, and Bassitt ran over, beat Grisham to the bag, but the Padres center fielder's left foot came down on the back of Bassitt's, and he went tumbling down the first-base line, getting a couple of scuffs on his left arm in the process.

When all that was sorted out, Voit was at third and Alfaro at second, but Ha-Seong Kim struck out to end the inning, and that was all for Bassitt's night. His final line was: 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 0 walks, 11 strikeouts, as he took a tough loss to fall to 7-7, with a 3.72 ERA, on the season.

After Snell left, the Padres' bullpen did its job, as Nabil Crismatt pitched a scoreless hit, working around a single to Lindor; Adrian Morejon pitched 1 1/3 inning and struck out all four batters he faced, and Luis Garcia got the final two outs in the eighth.

Padres closer Taylor Rogers came on in the ninth looking for his second straight save in as many nights, and the Mets rallied. Pete Alonso singled to open it up, and then after Mark Canha flew out and Eduardo Escobar struck out, Luis Guillorme drew a walk. J.D. Davis then laced a single to right field to bring in Alonso and make it 2-1 San Diego. Tomas Nido was up next, and he popped out to second base to end it. It was Rogers’ league-leading 28th of the season.

The series finale is on Sunday night with a solid pitching matchup, as the Mets will send Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 4.27 ERA) to the mound against San Diego's Joe Musgrove (8-2, 2.42).

After that, the Mets then host the New York Yankees for a pair of games Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

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