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Pete Alonso's error costly as Jacob deGrom suffers first loss of season in Mets' defeat vs. Marlins

Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom reacts during the

Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom reacts during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins in an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Not even Jacob deGrom could escape the black hole of the Mets defensive woes.

After some key defensive lapses this weekend against the Yankees in the Bronx, trouble with the glove struck again in Monday afternoon’s 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. It was the fourth straight defeat for the Mets (15-20).

Pete Alonso’s error in the sixth inning paved the way for three unearned runs, and for deGrom’s recent stranglehold on the Marlins to finally become undone. 

After Garrett Cooper’s leadoff home run opened the four-run sixth and cut the Mets lead to 2-1, Matt Joyce reached base on a grounder that ate up Alonso behind the first-base bag.

“It was a sharply hit ball down the line,” said Alonso, who was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. “I feel like I was in the right position. It’s just that the ball took a weird bounce and came back to the right. It was a weird, funky hop. I tried the best that I could to keep the ball in front, but it didn’t bounce the right way and trickled away from me a little bit.”

Alonso continued: “It was a tough play and I feel bad because I know that I was in a good position and did everything I could, just didn’t make the play.”

After stealing second base, Joyce scored the tying run on Lewin Diaz’s double to deep centerfield. RBIs from Miguel Rojas (single) and Jorge Alfaro (double) followed to give the Marlins a 4-2 lead and flipped the script from deGrom dominance to another chapter in the Mets book of what could have been.

“One of the things that [deGrom] struggled with today was controlling the running game,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Times to the plate were a little higher and they took advantage.” 

Robinson Cano’s  leadoff home run in the sixth cut the Marlins' lead to 4-3, but it failed to spark a comeback. Brian Anderson’s homer in the eighth gave Miami a 5-3 lead and Luis Guillorme hit into a double play in the bottom of the ninth to erase Andres Gimenez’s leadoff, pinch-hit single. The Mets were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base.  

DeGrom (2-1) allowed four runs (one earned) and six hits in six innings. He struck out nine and walkedtwo. Marlins starter Trevor Rogers allowed two runs and five hits in five innings and earned the win.  

“I made some mistakes over the middle of the plate,” deGrom said of the sixth inning. “I felt good all game and left a couple balls that were in the middle and wasn’t able was get us out of that inning.”

It was deGrom’s fourth start in a row against the Marlins. He was the first pitcher to make four consecutive starts against the same team since the summer of 1929 ,when the New York Giants’ Freddie Fitzsimmons did so against the Cincinnati Reds. DeGrom last faced a non-Marlins lineup  on Aug. 3, when he threw six strong innings and got the win against the Braves.

Until things unraveled in the sixth, deGrom was dominant.

The righthander, who has been historically unhittable in day games, retired the first eight Marlin batters. Lewis Brinson reached on an infield single and stole second base with two outs in the third bu, after walking Corey Dickerson, deGrom struck out Cooper to end the inning.  

The Mets scored two runs in their half of the third. Jeff McNeil’s double drove in Amed Rosario to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Dom Smith’s sacrifice fly to deep rightfield drove in Brandon Nimmo to put the Mets ahead 2-0.   

The game was a makeup from last Thursday’s series finale, when the two teams walked off the field to protest against police shooting and racial injustice.  The Marlins were the most brief of house guests in Flushing. They played the Rays in Miami Sunday, flew to New York, and headed right back home to play the Blue Jays Tuesday.  

Injury updates:  J.D. Davis, who was hit in the hip by Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman this weekend was not available Monday, but general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he is day-to-day and the team is hopeful he can return Tuesday or Wednesday against Baltimore…Steven Matz and Dellin Betances’ injuries are not considered serious. Matz has bursitis in his left shoulder, while the nature of Betances’ injury is unclear, Van Wagenen said.         

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