PITTSBURGH — Against one of the most beautiful backdrops in baseball, the Mets played one of the ugliest games of the season.
One night after dropping a devastating extra-inning contest to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets were battered by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The losing streak extended to seven games in a 14-7 loss at PNC Park in the series opener. There were bad fundamentals, misplays, miscues and everything in between.
The Mets rallied to score five in the ninth off Rob Zastryzny and closer David Bednar. The fight was there, but the execution wasn’t.
Francisco Lindor summed it up succinctly: “It just sucks,” the shortstop said.
Tylor Megill was shelled for the third time in four starts, but the defense behind him didn’t exactly help the situation. After taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, the Mets (30-34) went down 2-0 when a ground-rule double by light-hitting catcher Austin Hedges scored two. Hedges flared one down the right field line and Starling Marte misjudged how close to the wall the ball was. The catch probability was 50% and Marte didn’t come very close to grabbing it.
“He’s fine,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I’m not going to blame an outfielder for a ball that lands next to the foul line.”
But that one play didn’t doom the Mets. They made two errors in the second, contributing to the Pirates’ five-run outburst. Lindor dropped a double play ball from Carlos Santana that would have ended the inning but instead, it put two on, and another by Eduardo Escobar that allowed two to score.
“It was a mental mistake,” Lindor said. “Flat out, a mental mistake. I rushed the play. That’s been [how I’ve made] errors this year — trying to finish the play without having the ball in my glove. It’s unacceptable.”
A visibly distraught Lindor shouldered the blame for the five runs, if not for the entire game.
“Today is on me,” Lindor said. “That play right there, it was going to close out the inning. Megill was pitching good. He had the momentum.”
Megill exited with two outs in the third to end his outing at 3 2/3.
“We keep thinking he’s about to take off,” Showalter said. “But we didn’t exactly help him defensively tonight.”
Zach Muckenhirn, who was called up to replace Stephen Nogosek on the roster earlier in the day, couldn’t stop the bleeding. Pitching in only his third big league game, he allowed two inherited runners to score and gave up three of his own on five hits over 2 1/3 innings. The Mets badly needed him to chew a few and he did. In doing so, he spelled a bullpen that had only few available arms.
Tommy Hunter threw two innings, giving up back-to-back home runs in the eighth to Santana and Jake Suwinski.
Megill (5-4) was charged with nine runs, but only seven were earned, on eight hits and three walks. He struck out only one and he now has a 5.14 ERA.
“I just haven’t been able to go out there and get outs,” Megill said, lamenting the inconsistencies he’s suffered from start to start.
Meanwhile, left-hander Rich Hill (6-5), who pitched in 13 games for the Mets in 2021, limited his former team to only two earned runs. Mark Vientos had an RBI single in the second inning to open the scoring. Lindor hit his 12th home run of the season in the third to briefly tie the game at 2-2.
The 43-year-old Hill threw 119 pitches over seven innings, walking two and striking out six for Pittsburgh (33-29).
“They’re trying and they’re getting after it,” Showalter said of his pitching staff. “But it’s not happening. It’s frustrating for us. We’re all charged with figuring it out. That’s what we have to do.”
Source: Berkshire mont