The Mets didn’t have one final late-inning comeback in them this weekend against Washington’s maligned bullpen.
Two runs against their Seth Lugo-less bullpen in the seventh and Victor Robles’ two-run homer against Edwin Diaz in the ninth were too much to overcome Sunday as the Mets failed to complete a three-game sweep in a 7-4 loss to the Nationals at Citi Field, ending their eight-game winning streak.
The Mets, winners of 15 of their previous 16 games since July 25, also squandered their first chance to overtake Washington for second place in the National League East.
With Lugo unavailable after registering the final six outs of Saturday night’s win, the Mets (61-57) fell behind 5-3 on ex-mate Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run double against lefty reliever Justin Wilson in the seventh. Michael Conforto recouped one run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half to score Jeff McNeil, who had opened the inning with a double off the wall in right-center.
After Wander Suero worked a scoreless eighth for the Nats, Diaz surrendered a two-run blast to left to Robles, who entered the game in the seventh as an injury replacement for Juan Soto.
Sean Doolittle coughed up four runs in the ninth inning for a walk-off Mets victory on Friday night and entered with a 15.00 ERA in seven appearances against the Mets this season, but the lefty closer pitched a scoreless ninth for his 26th save.
Other than three unearned runs scoring on one crazy play in a laborious 34-pitch first inning, Jacob deGrom was stingy as ever — permitting no earned runs. But he lasted just five frames on 101 pitches. He lowered his ERA to 2.68 overall and 1.97 over 15 starts since May 22.
The Nats loaded the bases against deGrom with one out in the first, but the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner struck out Matt Adams for the second out. He appeared poised to escape the inning unscathed when Alonso made a diving stab to his right of Cabrera’s grounder, but the first baseman’s throw to a covering deGrom sailed past his outstretched glove.
By the time the All-Star righty retrieved the ball, the first two runners already had scored, and Juan Soto also crossed the plate when catcher Wilson Ramos couldn’t handle deGrom’s bounced throw home.
The Mets, who came back from late holes to win each of the previous two nights, responded with five hits to even the score in the second. Joe Panik’s single to right earned him his first RBI as a Met, before deGrom dropped a perfect push bunt and beat third baseman Anthony Rendon’s throw to load the bases. McNeil followed with a double just inside first base to plate two more runs for a 3-3 game.
Defensive gems by Michael Conforto and Panik helped deGrom through the fifth, but Mickey Callaway replaced him with lefty Luis Avilan to start the sixth. With runners on the corners after two singles, newcomer and Jersey native Brad Brach recorded the final out of the inning in his Mets debut.
Robert Gsellman was tagged for two singles in the seventh, with McNeil overrunning the second one allowing Adam Eaton to advance to third on Rendon’s fourth hit of the game. Wilson walked Soto to load the bases, but after fanning Adams for the second out, Cabrera sliced a two-run double to right for a 5-3 Washington lead. Soto appeared to injure his ankle while rounding third on the play, and he left the game after being thrown out while hobbling back to the bag to end the inning.
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