New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) works in...

New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) works in the first inninng of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) Credit: John Bazemore

ATLANTA — Literally and figuratively, this one hurt. 

The Mets dropped another to Atlanta, 7-5, on Wednesday night, a fifth consecutive loss that matched their longest such streak since September 2021. 

In the first inning, Pete Alonso departed after Charlie Morton’s 97-mph fastball hit his left wrist. X-rays were negative, he was diagnosed with a bruise and the team considered him day-to-day, threatening his run of being in the starting lineup every game this season. He will get additional tests Thursday. 

In the eighth inning, Adam Ottavino gave up a game-winning two-run home run to Michael Harris II, the final blow of a back-and-forth affair that the Mets controlled into the middle innings.  

The Mets are 30-32 and have fallen to 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta (37-24), already having clinched a series loss heading into the teams’ finale Thursday. Justin Verlander will face Spencer Strider. 

“You get division rivals like this, the line between good and great is so thin, anything can change a ballgame around,” Max Scherzer said. “That’s what happened tonight.” 

Manager Buck Showalter said: “We got a lead and just couldn’t hold it. Our guys will come out tomorrow and compete again. I like our chances, regardless of who is pitching for them or us.” 

Harris, in a deep sophomore slump that had him enter the day with a .163 average and .490 OPS, went 3-for-4 in what was by far his best game of the season. He bunted for a single in the third, ripped a go-ahead double off Scherzer in the sixth and had the big blast in the eighth, a 443-foot shot to straightaway center. 

The last came on a cutter from Ottavino, who has used that pitch this year as a neutralizer against lefthanded hitters but mislocated this one. 

“Threw it right down and in, in the zone. Really poor location there from me. Yeah. Regret it,” Ottavino said. “That pitch has gotta be higher or more inside or below the zone. I got three options there. I keep making that mistake and paying the price.” 

Among the Mets’ missed scoring chances: Daniel Vogelbach grounded into a double play in the eighth inning against Nick Anderson. He finished 0-for-3, lowering his average to .203 and his OPS to .640. 

Scherzer’s odd outing resulted in an ugly final line: 5 2/3 innings, season-high 11 hits, five runs, zero walks, season-high 10 strikeouts.  

Atlanta barely touched him early. Scherzer struck out seven through three innings. Of the first six hits, five failed to escape the infield.  

But that turned in the fifth inning as he navigated their loaded lineup for a third time. Trying to protect a three-run lead, Scherzer allowed a two-out single to Austin Riley. Sean Murphy followed with a two-run homer to left to cut the deficit to one.  

Scherzer faced similar two-out issues in the sixth: Orlando Arica double, Harris double, Ronald Acuna Jr. single. 

“Tonight was kind of a weird night,” Scherzer said. “I did a lot of things right: Didn’t walk anybody, a lot of first-pitch strikes, used all my pitches, everything was working. 

“Typically, you win or lose ballgames on your last 15 pitches . . . That changed the game. You want to execute better in those situations. I didn’t.” 

Showalter said: “He was good. That’s a very tough lineup to go through three times like he did. He gave us a great chance to win.” 

Conversely, Morton was inefficient and easy to hit from the start. He lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and four hits, walking four and striking out five. Francisco Alvarez and Tommy Pham, who replaced Alonso as the cleanup hitter, homered. 

“Our guys will get what they’re putting into this,” Showalter said, “eventually.” 

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months