Following Tuesday’s 8-2 loss, the Mets took on the Houston Astros looking to right the ship and split the two-game series in Houston. Carlos Carrasco took the mound against Luis Garcia for the Astros. Carrasco would only go 2 1/3 innings before being removed with back tightness, and despite a strong day for the Mets’ bullpen, a big first inning for the Astros was too much for the Mets to overcome as they dropped the second game of the series 5-3.
After the Mets had a scoreless top of the first inning despite hits from Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindorthe Astros’ offensive went to work quickly against Carrasco. Jose Altuve led off the inning for a walk, then Carrasco allowed extra-base hits to the next three hitters. Michael Brantley doubled to drive in the game’s first run. Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez followed with abc-to-back home runs to extend the lead to 4-0 before Carrasco recorded his first out. Carrasco settled down after the home runs and only allowed Chas McCormick to reach base on a two-out hit-by-pitch before getting out of the inning.
Both teams went down in order in the second inning before the Mets cut into Houston’s lead in the third. Dominic Smith doubled on Garcia’s first pitch of the inning. He advanced on a groundout by Tomás Nido before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Nimmo to make it a 4-1 game.
The Astros did not waste any time getting the run right back. Alvarez, MLB’s leader in slugging percentage and OPS, launched his second home run of the day into the second deck in right field to regain the four run lead.
Two batters later, Buck Showalter, Jeremy Hefner and trainer Joe Golia went to talk to Carrasco on the mound after a foul ball by Yuli Gurriel. They decided to pull the Venezuelan right-hander after just 2 1/3 innings.
Yoan Lopez came into the game and did a terrific job of keeping the game within range for the Mets. After retiring the next two hitters to escape the third, Lopez threw two more scoreless innings.
The Mets didn’t generate much offense against Garcia over the first five innings, but they were able to get to him in the sixth inning and get back into the game. Nimmo walked on four pitches to lead off the inning, and Mars followed with an RBI double. Lindor followed with a hard hit single to advance Mars to third base and put an end to Garcia’s day.
Ryne Stanek came in to relieve Garcia, and was greeted by a sac fly from Pete Alonso and a double from Luis Guillorme to put the tying run in scoring position with one out. After Mark Canha drew a walk to load the bases, Stanek was able to escape with the two-run lead intact by getting Eduardo Escobar to pop up to third and striking out Smith.
The Mets turned to Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the sixth inning, and he followed Lopez’s lead by throwing a scoreless inning of his own. He went back out for a second inning of work in the seventh, and retired Altuve after Mauricio Dubón led off the inning with an infield single.
With Brantley coming up, Joely Rodriguez came into the game for the Mets. He retired Brantley on a pop up in foul territory, and after hitting Bregman with a slider, he struck out Alvarez to end the inning.
After the Mets failed to cut into the Houston lead in the eighth inning, Rodriguez returned to the mound and retired Kyle Tucker and Gurriel. With two outs in the inning and off day coming on Thursday, Buck went Edwin Diaz to get the last out of the eighth. He allowed an infield single to McCormick before striking out Jason Castro to end the inning.
While the Mets ‘bullpen was keeping the game within reach, the Astros’ bullpen was also showing why they are one of the league’s best. Hector Neris and Rafael Montero each threw scoreless innings before Houston turned to Ryan Pressly in the ninth. Pressly struck out Smith and JD Davis before Nimmo lined out to Altuve to close out the Astros victory.
Player of the Game: The Bullpen
After the short outing from Carrasco, the bullpen did a terrific job of keeping the game close. The four Mets relievers combined to throw 5 2/3 shutout innings:
- Lopez: 2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, K
- Hunter: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K
- Rodriguez: 1 1/3 IP, 0 ER, K
- Diaz: 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
An outing like this is impressive against any team, but doing it against the Astros, who have been an offensive juggernaut for the past five seasons, is even more incredible.
The Mets will begin their second consecutive weekend series with the Miami Marlins on Friday at 6:40 pm ET. Taijuan Walker (5-2, 2.88 ERA) will be making his second consecutive start against the Marlins. Walker was brilliant in his last start, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings. He will go against Sandy Alcantara (7-2, 1.72 ERA) who has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball this season and threw eight strong innings against the Mets on Sunday.
The game will be televised on WPIX, and the radio call will be on WCBS 880.