Sunday, October 17 2021
Rich Hill black jersey side cropped

Rich Hill black jersey side cropped

The Mets struggled to provide run support behind a strong start once again, suffering a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.

Five things to know from Friday’s game

1. LHP Rich Hill produced his best outing yet for the Mets, headlined by a personal-best eight strikeouts since arriving to New York in a July 23 trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. He did not issue a walk in his seventh game (sixth start) with the Mets.

The only damage for Hill (6-6, 4.11 ERA) came in a two-run third inning by the Nats, who scratched across runs on two straight at-bats — Juan Soto‘s groundout (Paolo Espino) and Josh Bell‘s single (Victor Robles) to go up 2-0. Ultimately, Hill yielded two runs on as-many hits in five innings, walking none while throwing 91 pitches (62 strikes).

2. 2B Javier Baez tried to get the Mets going in the fourth inning, when he hit a one-out solo shot and put New York on the board. His 25th home run and third with the Mets cut a 2-1 Nats lead.

3. The Mets, however, struggled to build and Espino matched Hill with a strong five innings of his own. After Baez’s blast, he struck out Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis — both swinging — limiting the damage. Overall, Espino (4-4, 4.13 ERA) limited New York to three hits and one run (Baez’s homer), striking out seven while walking none on 68 pitches (49 strikes).

4. The bullpen did its job. It started with RHP Heath Hembree, who fanned and walked one each in a hitless sixth inning of work. RHP Miguel Castro followed with a similar seventh inning, offsetting one walk with two strikeouts in the inning.

After the Mets went down with a pair of 1-2-3 sixth and seventh innings offensively, RHP Jeurys Familia struck out the side — Soto, Bell and Carter Kieboom — in a 16-pitch eighth. For the ninth, RHP Edwin Diaz struck out three, stranding Luis Garcia on third after a two-out double and wild pitch to give the Mets a shot.

5. 1B Pete Alonso, who supplied the Mets’ only offense Thursday with a towering two-run shot in a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, went 0 for 3 but worked a walk to start the ninth inning. SS Francisco Lindor, who put a nice swing on the ball earlier with a two-out triple in the first inning, was unable to capitalize and grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice that got Alonso out up the middle.

Baez then chopped a grounder up the middle for a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

Highlights

What’s next

The Mets (61-67), who have lost four straight and 12 of their past 14, continue a three-game series with the Nationals (55-72) Saturday at Citi Field.

Mets RHP Marcus Stroman (9-12, 2.85 ERA) and Nationals LHP Sean Nolin (0-2, 9.00 ERA) are the probable pitchers for a 7:10 p.m. start on SNY.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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