Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) The Mets led 6-1 with one out in the eighth inning but a complete meltdown by the bullpen cost Jacob deGrom a much-deserved win and the club its 11th victory in 12 games. DeGrom, Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia combined to allow six runs on five hits, three walks and a hit batsman to fall behind, 7-6. Hansel Robles allowed a solo homer in the ninth.
2) Familia entered with the Mets up 6-4, two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth. He allowed a game-tying single to Wilmer Difo, plunked Moises Sierra and forced in the go-ahead run on a walk to Michael Taylor before getting the final out.
3) DeGrom allowed three runs on six hits and a walk with a season-high 12 strikeouts over 7 1 /3 innings. He entered the eighth at 84 pitches but was relieved after surrendering a pair of singles. Both runners came across to score. DeGrom retired 10 consecutive batters after Bryce Harper's first-inning broken-bat solo homer.
4) Asdrubal Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a homer, a double and two RBIs, but he was thrown out trying to advance to third in the ninth on a wild pitch and the Mets down two runs. Todd Frazier drove in two runs on a double and a single. DeGrom drove in a run on a squeeze bunt in the sixth.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
A bullpen that had been untouchable through the season's first 14 games unraveled all at once in the eighth inning. It was reminiscent of the Mets' win against the Nationals in 2015 when the club rallied from six runs down with two outs to steal a win during their drive to the pennant. The relievers were bound to hit a rough patch, but hitting it all in one inning and coughing up a five-run lead with five outs left was really the wrong time to do it.
It's a shame, because Jacob deGrom showed once again that he's ace in the truest sense of the word. There aren't enough superlatives to describe him and what he can do out there on the mound, but he tired in the eighth and was forced to take an unfortunate no-decision.
There really isn't anything to say that will soothe a loss like this. Even with a 12-3 record, blowing a five-run lead with five outs remaining against a team that seemed dead in the water is the very epitome of a gut punch. There will be more games like this over the course of a season, perhaps not as extreme, but it will happen. However, the opponent, the situation and the unexpected nature of what transpired makes this an almost impossible pill to swallow. But the Mets must and move on to the next one...
Highlights from the game...
News and notes...
The Mets were 2-8 against the Nationals at home last year and fell to 19-50 (.275) against Washington at Citi Field since the start of 2011. It was their first loss in nine games against an N.L. East opponent and dropped their record in one-run games to 4-1.
New York's bullpen had allowed nine runs in 53 1/3 innings before Monday. Four Mets relievers combined to surrender four runs and two inherited runners in two-thirds of an inning in the eighth.
Frazier has reached safely in nine straight games during which he has two homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He is hitting .474 (9-for-19) during a six-game hitting streak.
DeGrom's 12 punchouts were one shy of his career high and represented the 22nd double-digit strikeout game of his career. He fanned 10 or more batters 11 times in 2017.
Yoenis Cespedes (rest) was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. Jay Bruce (plantar fasciitis in left foot) was kept out for a second straight day. Both were retired as pinch hitters.
The Mets (12-3) will try and rebound from a brutal loss in the second game of their series against the Nationals (8-9) at Citi Field Tuesday night at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Zack Wheeler (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 7 Ks, 0.43 WHIP) makes his second start of the season after a terrific debut last Wednesday in Miami when he allowed one run and two hits over seven innings. The right-hander posted a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Washington last season. Wheeler has struggled in his career against the Nats, going 2-7 with a 4.84 ERA in 10 starts.
Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 2.20 ERA, 20 Ks, 1.41 WHIP) starts the middle game of the series after allowing three runs -- two earned -- over five innings in his first loss of the year last Thursday against the Rockies. The southpaw took a no-decision against the Mets on April 7 when he yielded one run in 5 1/3 innings. Gonzalez is 10-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 15 career starts at Citi Field, including a pair of wins in 2017. He is 5-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last seven starts in Queens.