Mets pitcher Drew Smith, right, looks on as Texas Rangers'...

Mets pitcher Drew Smith, right, looks on as Texas Rangers' Leody Taveras, left, runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run off him during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Arlington, Texas.  Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

ARLINGTON, Texas — Even as the Mets went down quietly in the ninth inning Wednesday night, the final moments of a 5-3 loss to the Rangers and the end of their seven-game winning streak, the bullpen stirred.

Reed Garrett was on mound, throwing light and easy, one practice pitch for every couple in the game. The bottom of the ninth never arrived but, you know, just in case. With the way the Mets have played lately — virtually everything going their way, a feeling of inevitability late in tight games — he may as well stay ready, right?

This time, there was no comeback. Garrett didn’t enter. The win streak is over. The Mets’ next challenge is to make sure the hot streak isn’t.

What can they take away from this run?

“That we’re a good team,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “That we can put [together] streaks like that. It’s good . . . After what we’ve been through, especially the month of May, for us to play good baseball, it shows that we got a good team and we got guys who are going to continue to compete.”

Indeed, the Mets (35-38) headed into a day off Thursday and a weekend visit to the Cubs with plenty to feel good about.

Their recent stretches: seven wins in their past eight games, 11 in the past 14, 13 in the past 17. That has boosted them into the thoroughly mediocre middle of the National League, the wild-card picture very much relevant as they approach the halfway point of the season.


The difference in the finale with Texas (34-40), which snapped a five-game losing streak: Leody Taveras’ two-run home run off former Rangers fan Drew Smith in the seventh.

Smith left a fastball on the inner third of the plate, and Taveras blasted it an estimated 405 feet to right-centerfield.

“It was on the corner, not quite as high as I would’ve liked,” Smith said. “But it was still a pretty competitive pitch for 2-and-2.”

Mendoza said: “That fastball/cutter got too much of the plate.”

For Smith, such a moment came with unfortunate timing. He grew up in the Dallas area — frequently attending games at the Rangers’ still-standing old ballpark across the street — and expected a large contingent of friends and family at Globe Life Field for the finale. This was the first series in his career that he got to come here.

“Baseball has highs and lows,” a plainly bummed Smith said. “I experienced a pretty good high the first day [a scoreless ninth inning in a win] and a pretty bad low the last day. I just try not to ride the roller coaster. I know I’m going to be back out there in a couple of days and get another good outing, hopefully, under my belt and move on.”

Lefthander Sean Manaea contributed one of the Mets’ weirdest starts of the year.

What his line said: 5 2/3 innings, two hits, three runs, three walks, six strikeouts.

What his line didn’t say: He slogged through a 36-pitch first inning in which he walked three batters and hit another with a pitch, rebounded to retire 14 consecutive batters and took a no-hit bid into the sixth.

Key to his turnaround was a pep talk from Mendoza and catcher Francisco Alvarez after the first.

“From there on it was just kind of [a goal to] throw the ball down the middle and see what they can do with it,” Manaea said. “That was a huge difference. Not trying to shy away from contact or anything, just throwing it and letting them do what they were going to do.”

Pete Alonso put the Mets ahead in the sixth with a two-run homer off Andrew Heaney (six innings, three runs).

“When he hits it, he hits it far,” Mendoza said. “We saw it tonight, dead center. He’s got that ability to carry a team. He’s done it in the past. He’s there now.”


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