Sunday, June 4, 2023

After Hall Induction, Mets Suffer Pair Of Heartbreakers To Get Swept By Blue Jays


Mets starter Tylor Megill firing one in to Bo Bichette in the third inning of Saturday's game. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets Hall of Fame induction ceremony was on Saturday, and a lot of the talk about one of the inductees, Howard Johnson, was about how he was a member of the 30/30 club three times,  as he hit those home runs and stolen base plateaus in 1987, 1989, and 1991.

Following the ceremony, the Mets went on to lose a heartbreaker to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, on Saturday evening, and a crushing 6-4 loss on Sunday afternoon, leaving their record at 30-30, a club they don't want to be a part of. 

When the Mets finished up their prior homestand, after they reeled off five wins in a row over Tampa Bay and Cleveland to improve to 25-23, it seemed that would be the beginning of their ascent, and they would never have to think about .500 again. Well, after they lost four of six on the road to the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies, and then returned home to sweep the Philadelphia Phillies during the week before suffering this sweep to Toronto, here they are at .500 60 games into the season. For perspective on how significant this is, if the Mets want to duplicate the 101 wins they had last year, they will have to go 71-31 over the final 102 games of the season.

Saturday: Toronto 2, Mets 1: The Mets jumped out to an early lead when Starling Marte singled to open the bottom of the second inning, and he raced around from first to score on Daniel Vogelbach followed double up the right-center field gap that made it 1-0 Mets.

That was all the Mets could muster against Toronto starting pitcher Jose Berrios, who went six innings, and allowed that one run on four hits and three walks, with six strikeouts.

The Mets' starter Tylor Megill was superb, as he blanked Toronto over the first five innings.

In the top of sixth, Brandon Belt opened it with a double, followed by a Matt Chapman walk before Whit Merrifield flew out to right field, and Megill exited after that. 

The Mets turned to left-handed reliever Brooks Raley, and after he got Daulton Varsho to fly out to right, Alejandro Kirk got an RBI single to tie the game at 1.

Megill's final line was: 5 1/3 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 run (earned), 5 walks, 5 strikeouts. He got a no-decision, so his record remained 5-3 with a 4.40 ERA (earned run average).

It remained tied until the top of the ninth inning when Toronto broke through against David Robertson, who gotten out of trouble in the eighth. George Springer got a one-out single, and then he came in to score when Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., laced one down the left-field line to make it 2-1 Jays. There were some fireworks early in Guerrero's at-bat when Toronto Manager John Schneider got tossed for arguing that the first pitch from Robertson, which was called a strike, was low and inside.

Erik Swanson worked around a one-out single by Mark Canha, as he got Francisco Alvarez to fly out to center field and struck out Brandon Nimmo to close it out in the bottom of the ninth. It was Swanson's first save of the season, while Robertson took his first loss to fall to 2-1 on the year.

Sunday: Toronto 6, Mets 4: Mets starter Kodai Senga was making his first start on normal rest, looking to follow up on his superb performance against the Phillies last Tuesday that opened the homestand.

After Senga worked through the first, which included superb defense, as Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., who walked, was picked off first base by Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez, the Jays rallied in the second.

Matt Chapman drew a one-out walk, Daulton Varsho singled, and then Whit Merrifield brought them home with a double to center field to make it 2-0 Toronto.

Then, in the third, Guerrero, Jr., made up for his miscue by blasting a solo shot to left field for his 9th home run of the season. Chapman doubled and came in on a throwing error by Alvarez to make it 4-0. Merrifield then walked, and that was all for Senga.

Tommy Pham, who was in the leadoff spot for the Mets in this one, got one run back with a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the third, and then he hit one into the left field corner in the fifth to pull the Mets within 4-2. Pham now has five home runs on the season.

Those were the only blemishes on the day for Toronto starter Yusei Kikuchi, who went five innings, and allowed those two runs on four hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts.

In the sixth, Toronto turned to Nate Pearson, and Pete Alonso came up with one out. The Mets first baseman hit a line drive into the left field corner that just got above the orange line on the wall for a solo home run, his 21st of the season. He also made some history, as it was the 72nd home run of his career at Citi Field, eclipsing Lucas Duda for the record at the ballpark, which opened in 2009.

Two batters later, Starling Marte hit a comparable no-doubter deep into the seats in left field to tie the game at 4. It was Marte's third home run of the year, part of a 2-4 day, as he is starting to heat up, with his average now at .250.

After Stephen Nogosek pitched three innings of shutout ball, the Mets turned to Dominic Leone to close out the sixth, and he remained in there for the seventh.

After Bo Bichette popped out to second base, part of a very rare 0-for-5 day for the Toronto shortstop, Guerrero singled berore Brandon Belt blasted one to center field that hit the black wall above the orange line for a two-run homer, and Toronto was back up, 6-4. It was just the third homer of the year for the former San Francisco Giants first baseman.

Toronto then finished off the Mets with ease, as Adam Cimber pitched a perfect seventh, Erik Swanson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Jordan Romano finished them off in the ninth in order to earn his 15th save of the season. 

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