The Mets entered the bottom of the ninth inning up six runs but fell apart, surrendering seven runs -- including a walk-off three-run home run -- as the Nationals stunned New York, 11-10, Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington. >> Box Score
Four takeaways from Monday's game
1) The Mets' biggest weakest reared its ugly head at the worst-possible time. With a 10-4 cushion in the bottom of the ninth inning, RHP Paul Sewald ran into trouble, allowing four runs on four hits while getting only one out as the Nationals crept back. After LHP Luis Avilan allowed a hit and RHP Edwin Diaz entered with three runners on. With one out, Diaz left a pitch over the plate and C Kurt Suzuki did the damage, pulling a three-run home run to left field and walking the Nationals off against the Mets for the seven-run comeback.
2) Did manager Mickey Callaway make the right decision to pull RHP Seth Lugo? After the bottom of the eighth inning, in which Lugo entered and fired a perfect 1-2-3 frame, the Mets -- with a five-run lead -- insetad went elsewhere in the their bullpen. But once they went with Sewald, Avilan and ultimately Diaz, the Nationals mounted every last bit of momentum needed and the bullpen was unable to buy an out.
3) The blown game wiped out another strong start by RHP Jacob deGrom (8-8, 2.76 ERA), whose 7.0 innings of work received a no-decision. In a battle of the aces with fellow NL Cy Young candidate and Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (9-5, 260 ERA), deGrom outdueled his counterpart by just enough as he scattered four runs on eight hits. DeGrom overcame three walks with six strikeouts while Scherzer surrendered four runs on five hits, including a two-run home run, with seven strikeouts to one walk.
4) Ultimately, deGrom edged Scherzer, but both bullpens fell apart. Before the Mets' meltdown, the Nationals allowed six runs -- one in the eighth and five in the ninth -- after Scherzer's exit. LF Jeff McNeil initially looked like he had given the Mets the boost they needed with his one-out solo shot in the eighth, which ignited an explosion for the following frame. In the ninth, the Mets bullied the Nationals, with home runs from CF Brandon Nimmo and 1B Pete Alonso around McNeil's two-run double. Of note, Alonso's 3-for-5 night extended his on-base to 29 games -- the best active run in the MLB -- since Aug. 2. McNeil was a catalyst out of the leadoff spot, sporting a 3-for-5 performance with three RBI. After RHP Wander Suero's scoreless seventh inning, the Mets did their damage from both sides of the plate -- against LHP Roenis Elias and RHP Daniel Hudson -- before RHP Javy Guerra kept the score at 10-4.
With the series on the line Wednesday at 1:05 p.m., the Mets return to action against the Nationals as RHP Zack Wheeler (9-7, 4.41 ERA) faces RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-6, 3.80 ERA).