Schwei’s Mets Notes: Bruce’s Fast Start And Some Late-Game Agony

By John Schweibacher
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Jay Bruce continued his terrific April on Wednesday night by hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning and a two-run shot in the eighth to lead the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Phillies, a result that ended their four-game losing streak.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Bruce is the first Mets player with two go-ahead homers in the sixth inning or later in one game since Mike Piazza did so against the Phillies in an 8-7 loss on July 3, 2002.

The only other player in Mets history to hit two home runs and drive in all five runs for the club in a game was Todd Zeile back on June 2, 2004, a 5-3, 10-inning win at Philadelphia.

The Mets lost their fourth straight game, 6-2, in 10 innings to the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citi Field, committing three errors and managing only four hits. According to Elias, it marked the first time the Mets’ offense had four or fewer hits and their defense committed at least three errors in the same game since a 9-1 loss to the Yankees on June 26, 2009, the first Subway Series game ever played at Citi Field.

The Mets led Tuesday night’s game by one going into the eighth. Last Saturday, the Marlins rallied to beat the Mets as Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton hit back-to-back homers to cap a three-run eighth as Miami erased a two-run deficit to win 5-4.

The Mets were 75-6 in games they led at the start of the eighth inning last season. Prior to this past week, the last game the Mets lost when leading after seven was against the Yankees at Citi Field on Aug. 1, 2016. The Mets had a 5-3 lead that, but lost in 10 innings, 6-5.

The Mets dropped three of four to the Marlins last weekend in Miami, with the winning run of each game scored in the final at-bat. New York won the opener.

After the Mets rallied to tie Sunday’s game in the top of the ninth, J.T. Riddle hit his first big league homer with two outs in the bottom half off Addison Reed, giving Miami a 4-2 win. Two nights earlier, J.T. Realmuto’s two-out double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Marlins a 3-2 victory.

The losses Friday and Sunday were the Mets’ 10th and 11th in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings at Marlins Park, dating to when the stadium opened in 2012. Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (five) and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (four) are the only ballparks where the Mets have lost more than twice in “walk-off” fashion over that same span.

Jacob deGrom tied a career high with 13 strikeouts over seven innings, but allowed two home runs in a hard luck no-decision last Saturday in Miami. On five other occasions in club history, a Mets pitcher fanned at least 13 and gave up at least two homers in a regular season game:

— 7/22/85: Sid Fernandez vs. Reds; 7 1/3 innings, 13 Ks, 2 HRs allowed in 5-1 loss
— 7/4/78: Pat Zachry vs. Phillies; 9 innings, 13 Ks, 2 HRs in 3-2 loss
— 5/2/73: Tom Seaver vs. Reds; 7 innings, 13 Ks, 3 HRs in 6-1 loss
— 8/1/70: Tom Seaver vs. Padres; 9 innings, 13 Ks, 2 HRs in 4-2 win
— 5/14/68: Nolan Ryan vs. Reds; 9 innings, 14 Ks, 2 HRs in 3-2 win

The Mets outlasted the Marlins, 9-8, in 16 innings last Thursday night in Miami. Travis d’Arnaud went 4-for-6, including a three-run, second-inning triple and the go-ahead home run in the 16th.

Only three players in club history have hit a home run later in a game than d’Arnaud:

— Del Unser, 4/19/76, at Cardinals, top 17th
— Lenny Randle, 7/9/77, vs. Expos, bottom 17th
— Dave Kingman, 6/10/83, vs. Expos, bottom 17th
— Travis d’Arnaud, 4/13/17, at Marlins, top 16th
— Carlos Beltran, 5/23/06, vs. Phillies, bottom 16th
— Tim Harkness, 9/1/63, vs. Braves, bottom 16th

Happy Recap: Bruuuuce. Jay Bruce is batting .309 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 14 games for the Mets this season.

Nine Miles of Rough Road: Last licked. The Mets dropped four straight games in their opponents’ final at-bat, something that had not happened since June 18-21, 1975 vs. Montreal and Pittsburgh.

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