Drew Smith was probably going to give up a run at some point this season. And as a late-inning reliever, it was probably going to come in a big spot.
But who could have seen this coming?
Smith, who was unscored upon in 12 appearances and 13 1/3 innings this season, opened the eighth inning of a tied game against Seattle by throwing two strikes and then completely losing the plate, walking two batters on eight consecutive pitches.
Seattle’s Ty France followed with an RBI single and the Mariners held on for a 2-1 victory over the Mets before 36,629 on Friday night in foggy Flushing.
It was Seattle’s first ever visit to Citi Field.
“It was just one of those nights,” Smith said. “It was a good streak. Hopefully start a new one the next time out.”
“He’s spoiled us with a real high level of pitching,” Buck Showalter said. “Command was a little off, I thought, tonight. I can’t really be picky with him. Certainly he’s shown us better, but it’s hard to do what he’s done.”
The damp night air seemed to keep a potential game-tying home run by Pete Alonso in the ballpark in the eighth. Alonso hit a drive 383-feet to right-center, but could only put his hands on his helmet in disbelief as the ball died on the warning track and settled into the glove of centerfielder Julio Rodriguez.
"Off contact and sound, absolutely I thought it had what it took to go over the wall," said Alonso, who called the conditions "a huge wall of fog."
Max Scherzer started for the Mets and allowed one run in seven innings. He gave up three hits, walked two, hit two batters and struck out six.
Scherzer was coming off two subpar (for him) outings, both against the Phillies. In 12 combined innings, he allowed 15 hits, four of them home runs, and seven runs. He also walked one and struck out 16. His ERA went from 1.80 to 2.92.
Scherzer retired the first 13 Mariners before hitting France with a pitch with one out in the fourth and the Mets leading 1-0.
That run came three batters into the bottom of the first against lefthander Marco Gonzales. Infield hit, Brandon Nimmo. Double inside the third-base bag, Starling Marte. Sacrifice fly to center, Francisco Lindor.
We now return you to the top of the fourth: After hitting France, Scherzer allowed his first hit, a single to right by J.P. Crawford that sent the runner to third.
Scherzer struck out Eugenio Suarez for the second out, but Jesse Winker lined a game-tying single to center.
The Mets bats went silent from the first to the sixth as Gonzales allowed only an infield single to Jeff McNeil leading off the second (ending a 14-pitch at-bat), a one-out walk to Lindor in the third and a leadoff single to Tomas Nido in the fifth.
The Mariners had a golden chance to break the tie when they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on an infield single, a walk, and a second walk, this one to former Yankee Mike Ford on a 3-and-2 pitch that umpire Chad Whitson called low. Scherzer let out a primal scream in response to that decision.
Steven Souza Jr. was next and Scherzer got him to ground into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. Scherzer punctuated the moment with a fist pump and another yell as he headed toward the home dugout, his night over after 98 pitches.
As Scherzer prowled in the dugout, the Mets tried to stage a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh.
Nido, who was elevated to No. 1 catcher earlier in the day with the news that James McCann has a fractured hamate bone that requires surgery, walked and moved to third when Nimmo dunked a double into center off the glove of a sliding Rodriguez.
Mariners manager Scott Servais brought in former Mets reliever Paul Sewald, who struck out Marte to end the threat. Sewald (2-1) threw a perfect eighth, too.
Jarred Kelenic, the young outfield prospect the Mets sent to Seattle as part of the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade in 2018, was supposed to make his Citi Field debut this weekend.
But Kelenic, who was batting .140, was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma before the game.
The Mariners last played the Mets in New York in 2008 in the final season of Shea Stadium. Two players who appeared in that series are still active: former Mets pitchers Oliver Perez and Joe Smith.