The Mets were back in black on Friday night and the stage was set for a big moment by the biggest proponent of the return of their black uniform jerseys from the late 1990s-early 2000s glory days.
Pete Alonso came to the plate as the potential go-ahead run in the eighth inning with the Mets trailing the Reds by two. The crowd of 31,787 at Citi Field was on its feet, waiting for Alonso to make a memory.
But Alonso grounded into a forceout at third to end the threat and the Reds went on to a narrative-deflating 6-2 victory.
Cincinnati’s Jonathan India hit two home runs, including one on the first pitch ever thrown by Carlos Carrasco as a Met.
Carrasco had waited a long time to throw that pitch. It probably felt good out of his hand. But it didn’t feel good off the bat as India sent it over the leftfield fence.
Carrasco, a cancer survivor whom the Mets acquired along with Francisco Lindor in January, had been out all season with a right hamstring injury.
Carrasco went four innings and allowed just the one run in a 58-pitch effort that more than met the Mets’ expectations. The 34-year-old righthander gave up three hits, walked one and struck out four.
"I felt pretty good," Carrasco said. "Except for the first pitch of the game."
Carrasco made three minor league rehab starts and threw just 38 pitches in his most recent one. The Mets are going to need him to round into form soon, especially after Friday night’s news that ace Jacob deGrom is being shut down from throwing for at least two weeks with elbow inflammation.
The Reds snapped a 1-1 tie on Jesse Winker’s two-out RBI single off Miguel Castro in the fifth. Joey Votto homered for the seventh consecutive game – one shy of the major league record – off Drew Smith in the sixth and India’s two-run blast off Anthony Banda capped the Reds’ three-run ninth.
Owner Steve Cohen had made restoring the black shirts a priority of his new regime. The Mets will wear the popular tops at home on Friday nights for the rest of the regular season.
AC/DC’s song "Back In Black" was played from the loudspeakers before the game. Very loudly.
The Mets looked like their 2000 World Series crew in the bottom of the first as their first four batters reached against former Yankees righthander Sonny Gray.
Brandon Nimmo singled and scored to tie the game at 1 on Jeff McNeil’s double inside the first-base line. McNeil has a career-best 16-game hitting streak. Alonso walked and Dom Smith singled to load the bases.
But Gray struck out Michael Conforto and got Jonathan Villar to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Conforto, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, is down to .199. He was booed all night.
When the final out was made in the ninth, Kevin Pillar was on deck to pinch hit for Nimmo, who manager Luis Rojas said felt a "small pinch" in his hamstring while making a diving catch in the top of the inning.
"We’ll see how he is tomorrow," Rojas said. "But as of now, it’s something really, really small."
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