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Tough luck for Jacob deGrom; Mets lose on Dom Smith's error on pop-up in 10th

Mets left fielder Dominic Smith watches the game

Mets left fielder Dominic Smith watches the game winning run score after failing to make the catch on a ball hit by San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval in the tenth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 19, 2019, in San Francisco. Smith received an error on the play.  Credit: AP/Ben Margot

SAN FRANCISCO — For all that has changed for the Mets in the past year-plus — the general manager, most of the coaching staff, almost half of the roster — at least one maddening constant has remained: They are still wasting Jacob deGrom’s excellence.

DeGrom tossed seven shutout innings Friday night against San Francisco, allowing three hits and striking out 10, but Giants rookie Tyler Beede went eight scoreless innings to lower his career ERA to 5.10.

The Mets lost, 1-0, in 10 innings on a virtual replay of a blunder against the Giants from last season: a ball falling between leftfielder Dominic Smith and shortstop Amed Rosario. Smith was charged with a game-ending error on Pablo Sandoval’s routine two-out pop-up off Jacob Rhame as a hustling Alex Dickerson raced home from first.

Smith said the memory of last year’s version — Aug. 20, Citi Field, top of the 13th, a collision with Rosario in shallow left — haunted him as this play developed.

“The ball went up, and I had a good read on it, good bead,” said Smith, a natural first baseman whom the Mets didn’t let play the outfield this year until late May despite his repeated requests since spring training to at least practice there. “In the last second, I got a little scared because last year we collided and stuff like that. Just took my eyes off the ball because of what happened and ended up dropping it.

“I called it. I felt like I had a great jump on it. I was coming in easy. Just miscommunication and the ball dropped. Yeah. It cost us the game.”

Smith and Rosario both said they called it initially, but Rosario deferred to Smith as Smith closed in. He looked away for a split second and lost it.

“It looked like he was peeking down to see if Rosie was there and in his way,” Mickey Callaway said. “And by the time he looked back up, it was already on him.”

Rosario said through a translator: “It’s just part of the game. It’s one of those things where he maybe thought I was a little too close to him, and that’s why the play happened the way it did.”

On Smith’s slightly off-line throw to the infield, catcher Wilson Ramos drifted up the third-base line in case Todd Frazier couldn’t cut it off. But when Frazier did cut it off — and fired home immediately — Ramos was a couple of steps out of position as the ball flew beyond the plate, and Dickerson scored without a play.

It was the second walk-off defeat in extra innings in as many nights for the Mets (44-53). They lost to the Giants, 3-2, on Thursday as San Francisco scored two runs in the bottom of the 16th to counter Pete Alonso’s go-ahead solo homer.

The past two seasons, deGrom has a 2.18 ERA in 52 starts. The Mets are 20-32 in those games. DeGrom has pitched at least seven shutout innings nine times in that span but has gotten the win in only four of them.

DeGrom improved his ERA to 3.02 and provided the long outing the Mets badly needed after Thursday night’s marathon loss. Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman and Justin Wilson were unavailable.

After deGrom allowed a single to his first batter, Brandon Belt, who subsequently was caught stealing second by deGrom, the Giants didn’t get another hit until there were two outs in the fifth, when Kevin Pillar lined a double to left-center.

DeGrom’s strikeout of Beede on a foul bunt in the third represented a small piece of Mets history. With his 1,144th career punchout, deGrom passed Ron Darling for sixth in franchise history. Up next for deGrom: David Cone, fifth at 1,172. (Tom Seaver is the record-holder with 2,541.)

“Fantastic,” Callaway said, grouping Noah Syndergaard’s seven-inning start Thursday with deGrom’s. “Two fantastic outings, back-to-back days by our starters, going seven. You gotta win those.”

Beede, 26, tossed the best game of his career. Lasting a personal-best eight innings on only 89 pitches, he held the Mets to three hits and one walk, striking out five. He walked off the mound after getting his final out — Michael Conforto’s flyout to center to strand Jeff McNeil at first — to the same reward as Madison Bumgarner the night before: a standing ovation from the Oracle Park crowd.

The Mets’ chances against Beede consisted of McNeil’s single in the first, Robinson Cano’s double in the fourth and Ramos’ single in the seventh. DeGrom walked in the sixth (after flying out to the warning track in his previous at-bat).

In their past 25 innings, the Mets have scored one run.

“We’ll have a conversation, make sure we’re maybe a little more patient,” Callaway said. “The bottom line is we have to score more runs than we have in the last two days.”


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