The Mets (27-23) fell 9-5 to the Marlins (20-30) on Saturday evening at Citi Field.
Jon Niese pitched for the Mets and continued his string of rough outings. The lefty allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in four innings, striking out three and walking none.
The Mets grabbed an early lead against Tom Koehler in the bottom of the first when the red-hot Lucas Duda hit an RBI double, but after a walk to the next hitter loaded the bases with no outs, New York could not capitalize further.
Miami struck back in the next inning when Donovan Solano doubled in a pair (one of the runs was unearned thanks to a throwing error by Wilmer Flores), and tacked on another run in the top of the third when Giancarlo Stanton went deep. JT Realmuto hit a two-run shot in the top of the fourth to put the Fish up 5-1 and seemingly put the game out of reach.
But the unreliable Mets offense came to play in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to tie up the game. Curtis Granderson hit an RBI single before Ruben Tejada drove in three with a bases-clearing double that made it 5-5.
Erik Goeddel replaced Niese in the top of the fifth and got five outs before departing for Jack Leathersich with two outs and a runner on third in the sixth. The rookie kept the run off the board by striking out Ichiro Suzuki (not a typo).
New York put runners on the corners with one out in the home half of the sixth, but failed to cash in. Miami took the lead for good in the top of the seventh against Hansel Robles. After loading the bases to start the inning, Robles got two big outs, but Christian Yelich knocked in two with a single to give the Marlins a 7-5 advantage.
Alex Torres pitched a scoreless eighth, but allowed back-to-back solo shots in the ninth to Giancarlo Stanton (who hit the longest home run in the history of Citi Field) and Jeff Baker. The Mets could not get anything going at the plate in the final innings, and dropped their second straight to the Marlins.
Niese is not a bad pitcher. He’s been good the last three seasons, and in 2014 put up a 3.40 ERA with nearly 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. He got off to a pretty solid start this year (although he was often working in and out of trouble while putting up all those scoreless innings). But the wheels have really fallen off lately. He really needs to bounce back in his next start, because Steven Matz is breathing down his neck (not literally, of course. That would show really “bad makeup” on Steven’s part).
Duda is red-hot, and provided another extra-base hit in this game. But the Mets’ failure to score after loading the bases with no outs cost them a chance to really knock Koehler off his feet right out of the gate.
Ruben Tejada showing up on offense is always worthy of a sentence.
Giancarlo Stanton is an absolute monster against the Mets. And against the other 28 teams he faces, but I don’t really care about those.
This homestand got off to a great start with the sweep of the Phillies, but with today’s loss, the Mets clinched a loss in their set with Miami. Let’s see if they can salvage one game tomorrow.