ATLANTA — Mickey Callaway got mad Tuesday night, ejected for his first time as a manager after arguing when Brandon Nimmo, hit by a pitch, was not awarded first base.
Forgive Callaway if he then got glad he didn’t have to watch in person what ensued.
The Mets fell to the Braves, 8-2, for their ninth loss in 10 games and 16th loss in 20 games. They had three hits and one run-scoring play, showing no signs of emerging from their team-wide, weeks-long offensive funk that has put them at risk of sinking their season before even reaching the halfway point.
The Callaway-led portion of the evening’s excitement came in the sixth. When Jesse Biddle’s curveball caught Nimmo’s elbow pad, Nimmo headed to first — very quickly, per his usual HBP routine — as home-plate umpire Stu Scheurwater called him back. Nimmo said that Scheurwater ruled Nimmo leaned into the pitch.
“The ball was at our player and the umpire made the wrong call,” Callaway said.
Furious, Callaway emerged from the Mets’ dugout. He paired hysterical gesticulations with asking Scheurwater — and this is just a paraphrase — to please reconsider. Scheurwater did not. Callaway quickly got the boot. Nimmo reached base anyway, drawing a walk.
Nimmo said he always was taught not to get out of the way because getting hit is a way to get on base. “I appreciate Mickey coming out and taking a stand for me,” Nimmo said.
The Mets lost the game the next half-inning. Righthander Zack Wheeler was good until the sixth, when he allowed two runs and left the bases loaded for reliever Paul Sewald. Sewald gave up a grand slam to Ozzie Albies to blow it open.
“I was trying to go inside, it leaked over the plate — my problem over the last few weeks,” said Sewald, who has an 8.68 ERA in his past six outings. “This one really bit us at the worst time possible and ultimately cost us a chance to come back.”
That was a spot where the Mets, with a full bullpen, might have used Seth Lugo (in the rotation with Noah Syndergaard injured) or Jerry Blevins (5.02 ERA).
“Blevins is a good guy to have in that spot when we get him to where he needs to be,” Callaway said.
That left Wheeler with his worst line in about a month: 5 2⁄3 innings, eight hits, six runs, four walks, two strikeouts. Two of the three runs he allowed while in the game scored on bloop singles by Ender Inciarte.
The wheels started to come off for Wheeler on the first pitch of the sixth, when Freddie Freeman got ahold of a slider in off the plate and homered to right to tie the game. Three singles and several minutes later, Wheeler’s night ended with consecutive walks to the bottom of the Atlanta order.
“I got a little tired, I’m not going to lie,” Wheeler said.
The Mets seemed to catch a break in the sixth — shortly before the Callaway/Scheurwater episode — when Atlanta righthander Mike Foltynewicz left the game with triceps tightness. He threw only 73 pitches and kept the Mets hitless into the fifth, when they had two ground-ball singles.
Jay Bruce drove in the Mets’ two runs in the sixth with a ground-rule double, his first RBI since May 27 and first multi-RBI game since May 7.