Paul Sewald took a mighty hack, sending the ball high into the air, and the fans at Citi Field responded with the swelling roar of a crowd ready for a comeback.
Granted, the ball landed in Lorenzo Cain’s glove in shallow centerfield for the first out of the sixth inning, but the sentiment remained. In the world the Mets have created in the past few weeks, large deficits can be vanquished by middle relievers with iffy offensive credentials, and no effort is ever hopeless.
But yes, even in that world, losses do happen, and lose the Mets did Saturday night, 5-1, to the Brewers. It was only their second defeat in 13 games and ended their winning streak at nine.
Matt Harvey had something of a repeat of his middling performance the previous time out: After a dominant first inning in which he showcased a 95-mph fastball, he began to lose his way, giving up home runs to Jonathan Villar and Jett Bandy. (Orlando Arcia hit a solo homer against Hansel Robles in the ninth.)
But unlike last time, the Mets couldn’t make up the deficit: They were stymied by Chase Anderson, who no-hit them for the first 4 2⁄3 of his 6 1⁄3 innings.
“I just have to be better than that,” Harvey said. “We had a good streak going and tonight I needed to go out and be better and that loss is on me completely . . . I’ll have to take my 24 hours and be [angry] about this one and just be better tomorrow.”
The lone bright spot for the Mets was Sewald (no, not his flyout). His three perfect innings saved a taxed bullpen, and his five strikeouts were just another indication of the weapon the Mets have sitting on the benches in the little corner in rightfield.
Otherwise, Saturday was a departure from the familiar script the Mets have written. Though they had allowed at least one run in 27 innings in their previous 12 games, they had won specifically because of their ability to respond: After those 27 innings, the Mets scored in the next half-inning 13 times.
But things didn’t seem to be going in the Mets’ favor from the get-go, when Villar’s homer appeared to get an assist from the swirling wind in left. Harvey already was struggling at that point in the second, having given up a leadoff double to Travis Shaw before walking Domingo Santana. That’s when Villar launched Harvey’s 93-mph fastball to left, a ball that appeared to die as it reached the wall, only to (maybe) get a little help from nature’s ceiling fan. It was Villar’s first home run of the year.
The Brewers’ second homer, however, was entirely man-made. With one out in the fourth, Bandy hit Harvey’s 0-and-2 91-mph fastball deep into the seats in left-center to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead.
Harvey was mostly in the low 90s with his four-seam fastball and didn’t start trying to incorporate his slider and curve until the later innings. He lasted five innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
“I didn’t see the confidence that I’d probably seen before,” Mickey Callaway said.
Meanwhile, the Mets . . . did a whole lotta nothing.
After weeks of sheer dominance, their bats were silent until the fifth, when Amed Rosario broke up Anderson’s no-hit bid with a single that barely left the infield. With two on, Jose Lobaton struck out to end the inning.
The Mets finally scored in the sixth when Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a groundout and came home on Yoenis Cespedes’ bloop single.
“Until the last out is made, we definitely don’t feel that we’re out of it, and I think that’s the sign of a good team,” Jay Bruce said. “We’ve proven to ourselves that we’re capable of doing that and jumping guys late, and tonight we just weren’t able to get it done.”