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22.09.2018

Mets bullpen implodes in 6-run eighth for nightmarish loss to Nationals.

Just when the 2017 Mets seemed dead and forgotten came a flashback to that team’s worst moments. The Mets can only hope Monday night was a blip and not a sign of things to come for a bullpen that has excelled over the first two and a half weeks of the season but has often...
Time: 22:58     Date: 16.04.2018
Last US Sport News: Mets bullpen implodes in 6-run eighth for nightmarish loss to Nationals. NY Post 24 - US News

The Mets can only hope Monday night was a blip and not a sign of things to come for a bullpen that has excelled over the first two and a half weeks of the season but has often been stretched to the brink.

In a gut punch, the Mets blew a five-run, eighth-inning lead against a hurting Nationals lineup and lost 8-6 at Citi Field.

The Nationals, minus injured Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Adam Eaton, battled against a Mets bullpen that had pitched 11 ¹/₃ innings over the previous three days. It’s a bullpen that entered with a 1.51 ERA that ranked first in the major leagues entering play.

The Mets (12-3) lost for the second time in three games, constituting the first thing that has resembled a slump this season. Included in their franchise-record start was a three-game sweep in Washington just more than a week ago.

The Mets took a 6-1 lead into the eighth with Jacob deGrom rolling, but imploded. The combination of deGrom, Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia combined to surrender six runs in the inning as the sparse crowd watched in stunned silence.

Jeurys FamiliaGetty Images

Bryce Harper, who had smashed a broken-bat homer in the first inning, delivered a two-run single against Blevins that began the comeback. Before the inning was complete Ramos walked Matt Reynolds with the bases loaded before Wilmer Difo’s two-run single against Familia tied it. Familia walked Michael A. Taylor with the bases loaded to give the Nationals a 7-6 lead.

Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run homer in the seventh had given the Mets a cushion with a 6-1 lead. The blast was Cabrera’s team-leading fourth of the season.

DeGrom pitched 7 ¹/₃ innings — the longest outing by a Mets starting pitcher this season — and allowed three earned runs on six hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk. He was removed at 103 pitches in the eighth with two runners on base, beginning the merry-go-round of relievers.

The Mets got aggressive to add insurance runs in the sixth. After Juan Lagares walked and stole second and third, deGrom executed a safety squeeze — that was kicked into foul territory on the first-base side by pitcher Matt Grace — to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Amed Rosario’s ensuing RBI fielder’s choice added another.

Todd Frazier continued a solid homestand with an RBI double in the third that gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. Michael Conforto was thrown out at the plate attempting to score from first on the play, as the Mets continued the aggressive base running that has helped define their season. This time the gamble was lost, with Conforto out by plenty on Glenn Sherlock’s send.

Frazier’s RBI single in the first — following a Conforto double — gave the Mets their first run. It marked the 15th time this season (in 32 possible chances) the Mets scored in their next at-bat after an opponent scored.

Harper amazed in the first with a broken-bat homer that cleared the fence in right-center to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Harper was left holding the bat’s handle as the barrel sailed behind him toward the on-deck circle, where it was retrieved by a batboy.

Jeremy Hellickson, in his first start for the Nationals, lasted 4 ²/₃ innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits and one walk. The right-hander was removed after throwing 88 pitches.

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