Mets starting pitcher Jose Butto enjoyed a largely smooth 6...

Mets starting pitcher Jose Butto enjoyed a largely smooth 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. Credit: AP/Stephanie Scarbrough

WASHINGTON — The Mets wasted the best outing of Jose Butto’s young major-league career Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Nationals.

Phil Bickford walked his first batter and hit the second with a pitch, setting up Jacob Young’s walk-off RBI single that bounced into centerfield in the bottom of the ninth.

Before the late dramatics, Butto enjoyed a largely smooth 6 1⁄3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Butto carried a shutout into the seventh before finding trouble in the form of a pair of singles. Reliever Trevor Gott allowed both runs charged to Butto to score. CJ Abrams’ tying single sneaked past second baseman Ronny Mauricio.

“That was as much as you could expect [Butto] to do,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That was good to see. It bodes well for him and hopefully for us. When he did get in some trouble, he seemed to stay in attack mode. I really like that part of it. He didn’t back off the competition.”

Showalter described Butto’s slider as “a usable pitch,” the best he’s seen from him.

Butto, 25, was pitching in just his sixth game in the majors. He had a 5.93 ERA with Triple-A Syracuse, calling the season “a little bit of a struggle” and citing the automatic balls/strikes system MLB is experimenting with.

 

With the Mets, Butto will get more chances down the stretch. He started this game because Carlos Carrasco’s season ended when he broke his pinkie finger in a weight-room accident last weekend.

Showalter stopped short of guaranteeing Butto another start, saying he “did what it takes to be strongly considered for that,” but mentioned before the game that the Mets are curious about him in a relief role as well.

The Mets jumped out to an early lead against Joan Adon (five innings, two runs). Brandon Nimmo’s double and Francisco Lindor’s single produced a run before Adon recorded an out. But they went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Mauricio finished 2-for-4 with a steal, upping his hit streak to five games to begin his career. The Mets record is seven games, done by Daniel Murphy (2009) and Keith Miller (1987).

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