Two big blasts weren’t enough to overcome a bullpen blowup for the Mets on Monday night at Citi Field. Trevor Gott blew a save and the Mets wasted a strong performance from right-hander Tylor Megill in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in the first game of a three-game set.
Brandon Nimmo and DJ Stewart homered and Megill held the Rangers to only one run over six innings. It was the first time he had gone six full innings since June 16, his second-to-last start before a Triple-A demotion.
“It seemed like all of my stuff was on tonight,” Megill said. “It felt like I could throw just about any pitch in any count.”
Megill has shown solid improvements over his last three starts, but this one might have been his best in a challenging season. He gave up five hits, three of which came in the sixth inning. Marcus Semien doubled to lead off the inning and Corey Seager reached on an infield single to put two on. Megill got a big double play to erase a baserunner.
Adolis Garcia drilled a double to right-center field to score Semien from third easily, but Megill stayed poised. Megill struck out Robbie Grossman to get out of the inning with only one run allowed. It was his eighth strikeout of the night, which set a new season-high for the right-hander.
“It’s a really good-hitting team, so that was impressive,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We know they’re trying to operate on all cylinders with where they are in the season. To be able to do that, that was really good to see from Tylor. It’s a tape he can watch down the road to see how effective he can be against hitters at this level.”
The Rangers are only a half-game out of first place in the AL West, hungry to gain some ground in a tight playoff race.
Right-hander Jon Gray gave up three earned runs over six innings but kept Texas (74-57) in the game. Nimmo further extended his career-high homer mark with his 19th of the season in the third inning. A two-run shot gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Stewart slugged his seventh of the season and his sixth in his last 12 games.
That home run almost gave the Mets (60-72) enough separation, but Gott put two on before getting the first out of the ninth inning. With runners on second and third and none out, the right-hander nearly got himself out of a jam by striking out Leody Tavares and Semien. Seager was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Nathaniel Lowe, who grounded into the double play that helped get Megill out of trouble in the sixth, got one to put in play. Gott threw him a cutter inside and it wasn’t inside enough.
“I thought we were going to get out of it,” Gott said. “I wish that pitch had been a little more in.”
Lowe’s single to right scored two. Right-hander Jose Leclerc retired the side in the ninth to do what Gott couldn’t and convert his second save of the season. The Mets didn’t even have a hit after the fifth inning. It was the first time this season the Rangers won when trailing after eight innings.
“We were just one pitch away,” Showalter said.
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