SAN FRANCISCO – The Mets had done it. They had raised everyone’s blood pressure, rallied late and were on their way to another series win. Then the bullpen blew it.
Edwin Diaz gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning after the Mets had taken the lead in the top half, and the Amazin’s lost to the Giants, 13-12, in a wild game at Oracle Park.
Even Diaz saw a bright side in the loss, which featured a total if 15 runs in the final three innings.
“We didn’t give up,” he said. “We came from behind.”
Down by six runs with nine outs to go, the Mets chipped their deficit away with a two-run Francisco Lindor home run in the seventh. But that was just setting the table for the theatrics that would come in the eighth. The Mets poured it on, featuring their 2022 specialty of grit, hustle, and small ball to mount a seven-run rally and complete yet another improbable comeback.
But their three-run lead was promptly erased in the bottom of the eighth when Drew Smith gave up a three-run home run to Joc Pederson, which was his third dinger of the night. Adam Ottavino, the third Mets reliever of the eighth, was able to keep the game tied with a strikeout to end the frame – setting up one more late push for the Mets offense.
Dominic Smith led off the ninth with a triple to right-center field and he was replaced by pinch-runner Travis Jankowski. Moments later, Brandon Nimmo launched a sacrifice fly to left field as Jankowski tagged third, sprinted 90 feet and scored the go-ahead run for a one-run lead. But, once again, it wasn’t enough.
Just to make every second of the late innings on Tuesday that much more hair-rising, Diaz blew his save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning. After Pederson tied the game with a single, Brandon Crawford ripped the game-winning hit to left field. There was a not-so-close play at the plate but the Giants swarmed onto the field after the safe call.
Though the Mets had put the rest of the league on notice with another late-game comeback, the Giants stormed ahead as winners to give the Amazin’s a taste of their own medicine. The back-and-forth game was a valiant, fighting effort from the Mets. But even for them, it just wasn’t enough after their starting pitcher sunk them in an early hole.
Asked if he had to do anything to make sure his players didn’t get “too down” after such a loss, manager Buck Showalter said, “Too down? No, not this group.”
Chris Bassitt struggled to put up zeros in his second-straight start against the Giants. He allowed three home runs, the most he’s ever coughed up in a single start, including two long balls to Joc Pederson. His final line – eight earned runs on eight hits and three walks across 4.1 innings and 92 pitches – was as disappointing as they come.
Before Tuesday, Bassitt’s most disastrous outing of the year had been just over one month ago, also against the Giants. The right-hander had permitted five earned runs on eight hits to San Francisco on April 20 at Citi Field. Bassitt has surrendered 13 earned runs to the Giants across two starts against them this year.
Bassitt’s worst and shortest outing of the season arrived in between spot starts from depth arms. After David Peterson aced his Monday call-up assignment, allowing two runs over six innings in a win against the Giants, the Mets needed Bassitt to eat innings and pitch well before another spot starter, unofficially Thomas Szapucki, would take the hill on Wednesday. But Bassitt’s command and release points were all over the place on Tuesday.
That Bassitt was having an off-night was evident well before he was removed from the game, making it fair to question why Showalter left him on the mound long enough to give up another home run to Pederson, once again a two-run shot.