ATLANTA – Jacob deGrom became mortal for a few minutes Thursday night, just enough time to bury the Mets in the kind of floundering lineup holes they often can’t escape.
Dominic Smith eventually got the Mets back to ground level, but the mojo was short lived. Seth Lugo’s gloomy decision threw the first base balance after Guillermo Heredia’s fielding squib leading to the bottom of the ninth and Freddie Freeman’s RBI single sent the Mets to a 4-3 loss at Truist Park for their 11th defeat at 17 games.
With the bases loaded with two out, Freeman smacked a shot at Lugo’s feet and just beat Luis Guillorme’s throw to first base, igniting the Braves ’celebration. Guillorme might have had a third play, but picked instead the throw.
“It’s hard,” Lugo said. “I was trying to call in [Guillorme], but it’s very loud out there … it’s hard to make that reaction in real time. That’s just the way it goes. “
The winning rally began when Lugo slipped to the ground while launching Heredia’s swing and throwing from his back to first base, resulting in a throwing error that allowed Heredia to get to second base. Lugo retired next to the two batters, but then provided an intentional Ronald Acuna Jr. walk with two outs and walker Ender Inciarte loaded the bases before Freeman delivered, giving the Braves two of three games and the series victory.
Smith led in the ninth and second homer of the game, a huge explosion in right field against Will Smith that pulled the Mets even to 3-3. The multi-homer game was the first in Dominic Smith’s career. He also blasted a homer leading in the seventh against Ian Anderson.
“For the offense not to make up to par I think we’re in a good place,” Smith said. “I think after the All-Star break, when the games really matter, we’ll be good.”
Next stop for the Mets is the Bronx for three games against a reeling Yankee team that could possibly offer some relief. But that will only be if the Mets can get the bats started – they have scored three runs or less in seven of their last 11 games.
“We’re not knocking for power,” Rojas said. “You look at the top of the table and you look at both the OPS teams, there were a lot of differences. I think our guys’ offensive lineup can be there when it comes to power – not just singles everyone to death or walking and going to the station Big rallies are coming with some power delivered by our hitter. “
The Mets had their best shot at taking the lead in the eighth, when Billy McKinney released a pinch-hit single and Francisco Lindor drew a one-out walk. But 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso, were retired by Chris Martin to preserve Atlanta’s lead.
DeGrom gave the Mets the kind of length they craved, lasting seven innings and sending 93 pitches, its highest total since April 28th. He retired the final 18 batters he faced and knocked out 14, but had the problem in the three runs he handed in to the first goalie.
DeGrom entered the dugout and slammed his glove in disgust after first goalie, in which he allowed more earned runs (three) than he had in any total outing this season.
Austin Riley went to the opposite field on a 99.7 mile fastball and cleared the right-field wall for a two-run homer that gave the Braves a 3-1 lead. The Homer was first allowed by deGrom in seven starts, dating April 25 against the Rockies. The blast sent deGrom’s ERA into triple digits (1.03) a neighborhood he hadn’t visited all season. By the end of the night, that number had dropped to 0.95.
Ehire Adrianza, a late addition to the lineup after Acuna was scratched as a starter, broke a triple leading to the game for the Braves. Ozzie Albies ’single Rzz tied it 1-1 before Riley delivered his 14 homer of the season. Adrianza’s hit broke a track of 37 straight bats retired by deGrom in the first goal this season.
Conforto’s single RBI in the first gave the Mets a 1-0 lead after Lindor walked and stole the second. The stolen base was Lindor’s seventh of the season.