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Drew Smith’s first night off sinks Mets in loss to Mariners

Drew Smith was a bright spot in the Mets’ bullpen in the first month of the season, amassing 13 ¹/₃ straight innings early in the year.

That streak ended Friday night when Smith briefly lost the strike zone and thus the game.

Smith’s first night off of the season spoiled another strong showing from Max Scherzer as the Mets lost 2-1 to the Mariners at Citi Field.

After Scherzer gave up just one run over seven innings and was involved in a 1-1 duel with Mariners left-back Marco Gonzales, Smith stepped up for the eighth. He started the inning with a 0-2 count against Abraham Toro before his command faded. He threw nine straight balls and led a pair of runners. The walks came back to hurt him when Ty France sliced ​​a single on the open line of the first baseline to take Toro from second place to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead.

Drew Smith reacts after giving up the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
Drew Smith reacts after giving up the game-winning run in the eighth inning.
USA TODAY sports

“It was just one of those nights,” said Smith, who had run six batters in 12 games prior to Friday. “Hopefully as a rescuer you’re throwing up 60-70 times a year and you’re not going to have your best command every night.

“Hopefully next time you just hit back and start over [streak].”

Smith recovered by batting the next two batters and getting a pop-up to strand a pair of runners. But with the Mets (22-12) struggling to scrape over runs on the night, Smith’s first earned run of the season proved costly.

“He spoiled us with a really high level of pitching,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I can’t really be picky about him. Certainly he showed us better, but it’s hard to do what he did.”

Pete Alonso almost leveled the game at the end of the round of 16, crushing a flyball that sounded and looked like a home run right off the bat. But the 383-foot blast came up short on a wet and foggy night, and Julio Rodriguez caught her in the midfield warning lane. That left Alonso between first and second base in disbelief with his hands on his head.

Ty France rips a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning.
Ty France rips a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning.
AP

“Whether it’s the ball or bad conditions, it is what it is,” Alonso said. “Pretty well marked on contact. It felt excellent.”

The Mets had caught up with the Mariners (15-18) in the first inning against Gonzales. Brandon Nimmo started with an infield single before Starling Marte drilled a double on the third baseline. Francisco Lindor then blooped a sacrificial fly into midfield which Rodriguez executed with a diving hold, giving Nimmo a goal for a 1-0 lead.

Scherzer allowed his first baserunner with an out in the fourth inning when he hit France with a fastball. Three pitches later, he allowed his first hit on a single move that was pulled into right field by JP Crawford and sent the runners into the corners.

Max Scherzer plays during the Mets loss to the Mariners on Friday.
Max Scherzer plays during the Mets loss to the Mariners on Friday.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Then, after Scherzer narrowly escaped the jam, Jesse Winker blasted a single into right midfield to hit France and level the game 1-1.

Scherzer returned to cruise control through the seventh inning when an infield single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with an out. But he got Steven Souza Jr. to hit a sharp grounder to third base, and Eduardo Escobar started a strong 5-4-3 doubles game to get out of the inning.

“We win as a team, I can only put myself in a position to help the team win,” said Scherzer. “So when they go out and do big plays, I’m just as excited about them as I am about myself.”

The Mets started a two-out rally late in the inning when Tomas Nido pulled his first walk of the season and Nimmo shot a double into midfield that caught the glove of a sliding Rodriguez.

But former Met Paul Sewald stepped in to Gonzales’ relief, knocking out Marte with a full count to end the threat.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/drew-smiths-first-off-night-sinks-mets-in-loss-to-mariners/ Drew Smith’s first night off sinks Mets in loss to Mariners

JOE HERNANDEZ

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