|Jacob deGrom pitching to Franmil Reyes in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
For the second straight night against the Chicago Cubs, the Mets' best chance to score came in the first inning, and soon after the Cubs got the lead against Mets starter Jacob deGrom and went on to win, 4-1, on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
The Mets fell to 89-54, and they have now lost six of their last 11 games. What makes it even worse is this is the beginning of a 16-game stretch against teams well below .500. It began with them losing two of three on Labor Day weekend to the Washington Nationals (49-93), then they took two of three in Pittsburgh over the Pirates (54-88), and their offense broke out to score 20 runs in their two wins in the three-game weekend set in Miami against the 58-84 Marlins before these two dismal nights against the 60-82 Cubs.
The Mets’ lead in the National League East race fell back to a half-game as the Atlanta Braves (88-54) beat the San Francisco Giants, 5-1, to end their three-game losing streak.
In the top of the first inning, with Adrian Sampson on the mound for Chicago. Brandon Nimmo singled to start it off. Francisco Lindor then flew out to center field, and Jeff McNeil followed by bouncing a grounder past first base, which hit Nimmo, who was automatically out, and that gave the Mets two outs in the inning.
Pete Alonso came up next, and he launched one down the left field line that looked like it could have been his 34th home run. As it went by the foul pole, he started rounding the bases as if he had it, but third base umpire Brian O'Nora was quick to signal that it was a foul ball.
It turned out that it went in front of it, and missed hitting the pole by inches. The umpires went to the video review, and that upheld the call.
Alonso eventually walked, but he was still so pissed they didn't give him the home run, he flinged his bat and body armor to the ground and muttered to O'Nora heading to first base. He then also started jawing with the Cubs pitcher Sampson, and the umpires calmed both down before it escalated.
|Pete Alonso at first base and Chicago pitcher Adrian Sampson being calmed down by the umpires. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Daniel Vogelbach was up next with two on and two out, and he bounced one that Sampson went off the mound to field and fired to first to nab him.
In a repeat of Monday night, Chicago followed a missed opportunity by the Mets with a home run in the top of the second, this one a leadoff shot from Ian Happ into the second deck in right field to make it 1-0 Cubs. It was Happ's 17th home run and 66th RBI of the season.
In the fourth, Chicago got singles from Franmil Reyes and Happ to open the inning. Then, Rafael Ortega was up looking to bunt, and a deGrom pitch rode in on him and hit his hand, which knocked him out of the game.
In came Michael Hermosillio, and he was up to bunt as well. He laid one down, and Mets catcher James McCann fielded it, fired to first, and it hit Hermosillio in the helmet, so it got away before Alonso could field it, and he was ruled safe. It looked like he ran inside the line, but because it can't be challenged, Mets Manager Buck Showalter could only do so much arguing it.
Chicago had the bases loaded, and Yan Gomes followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in Reyes. Patrick Wisdom came up next, and he laid a bunt down that Alonso came in on, flinged to the plater, but Happ slid in behind McCann to make it 3-0 Chicago.
DeGrom then got a fly ball to center field to get Alfonso Rivas for the second out, and got David Bote to pop out to McCann to end the inning.
That began a stretch in which deGrom retired the final eight batters he faced. His final line was: 6 innings pitched, 4 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 0 walks, and 10 strikeouts, as he took the loss to fall to 5-2 and his ERA jumped from 1.66 to 2.01. (it's very rare to see his earned run average begin with a 2)
Sampson cruised through six shutout innings after he got the early lead, as he scattered just two hits and walked four, with three strikeouts, to earn his second win of the season (2-5, 3.48 ERA).
Seth Lugo came on for the Mets in the seventh, and he retired the first two batters in the inning before he gave up a flyball to Bote that he thought was the third out because he started walking back to the dugout. But, consistent with how it went for the Mets in this one, it carried out to center field for his second home run of the season, and the solo shot made it 4-0 Cubs.
Just as Chicago did on Monday night, they turned to Brandon Hughes with one out in the eighth to close it out, and the only hit he gave up was a solo shot to Alonso in the ninth to break the shutout.
It was Alonso's 34th of the season, and it gave him 110 RBI, a sad coda to a night in which he thought he hit it eight innings earlier and would have changed the complexion of this game.
Pete Alonso was up next, and he crushed one to deep left