CINCINNATI — The Mets might have another Edwin Diaz problem.
He blew his third save in a row Monday night in a game the Mets eventually won, 15-11, against the Reds in 11 innings.
The Mets’ five-run final frame included a go-ahead single by Jeff McNeil, a three-run homer by Kevin Pillar and a solo shot by Michael Conforto — the last of the team’s season-high seven home runs on the night. Pillar and Conforto went back-to-back, just as Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil had in the first inning. Conforto also homered earlier in the game and Dominic Smith and James McCann also went deep.
Even after the Mets brought a 15-10 lead into the bottom of the 11th, it wasn’t over. With a run in, runners on first and second and one out, the Reds were one baserunner away from getting the tying run to the plate. But Trevor May (pitching for a third day in a row), replaced Anthony Banda, induced a flyout to rightfield and — after falling behind Mike Freeman 3-and-1 — picked up a game-ending strikeout with dangerous Joey Votto on deck.
The win went to Banda, who allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings. He is a journeyman who was called up by the Mets hours before the game who had a 6.52 ERA in the minors.
Those were the final climbs and falls in a roller coaster of a game that included seven total runs in the first inning, 34 hits and 15 pitchers. It took 4 hours and 45 minutes.
But they played that long because of Diaz.
The Mets led by one when Diaz entered for the bottom of the ninth. After he walked his first batter, Kyle Farmer, on four pitches, he retired the next two, but Winker doubled home the tying run.
Diaz lost the Mets’ games on July 11 (the first-half finale) and Saturday. Both came against the Pirates, and the latter featured Jacob Stallings’ walk-off grand slam. Before this stretch, Diaz had been excellent in save situations this year, converting 19 in 20 chances — so dominant in those spots that manager Luis Rojas was campaigning for him to be an All-Star.
All of a sudden, though, he looks much more like his 2019 self. That was when he had a 5.59 ERA in his debut season with the Mets after becoming then-general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s marquee offseason addition.
The bonkers end followed a similarly bonkers beginning.
After the Mets scored three runs in the top of the first via homers by Alonso and McNeil, the Reds answered with four runs in the bottom of the first.
Cincinnati added a trio of runs thanks to a trio of Mets errors in the second inning.
McNeil, playing second base, muffed Winker’s ground ball that could have been an inning-ending double play. When the next batter, Tyler Stephenson, sent a ground ball to shortstop for another potential inning-ending double play, Luis Guillorme dropped it for a fielding error and then hit it with his hand toward third base for a throwing error. The Reds scored one run each on that play, Votto’s single and Tyler Naquin’s single.
Jerad Eickhoff, drawing the starting assignment as the Mets try to figure out what to do with the back end of their rotation, allowed seven runs (two earned) in 3 2/3 innings.
Smith’s home run — 433 feet to right-center — to lead off the fifth made it 7-7.
Running the game for the Mets was bench coach Dave Jauss, who was filling in for Rojas.
MLB suspended Rojas for two games — Monday and Tuesday — for what the league called “excessive arguing” with umpires Sunday in Pittsburgh. Rojas was infuriated by plate umpire Jeremy Riggs’ fair-ball call on Kevin Newman’s weak ground ball, which was batted toward the Pittsburgh dugout by Taijuan Walker as three Pirates runners scored.
Rojas had to leave the Mets’ clubhouse about 45 minutes before first pitch and planned to watch the game from a suite at Great American Ball Park.
“Let’s go, let’s get started with the suspension and let’s get it over with,” Rojas said. “I’m just going to sit back, wherever I can, and watch the game, be rooting for the guys and be paying attention to some of the details that I can’t pay attention to. Also take notes myself when I’m back in there Wednesday with them.”
Published at Tue, 20 Jul 2021 04:26:16 +0000
This post originally posted here https://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-reds-pete-alonso-james-mccann-1.50309785