Drew Smith was responsible for only one run earned run Friday night, but it turned out to be a killer.
After being handed the ball following starter Max Scherzer’s stellar 7-inning, 1-run outing, Smith walked the first two batters of the eighth inning. He then gave up a single to Ty France, allowing the Seattle Mariners (15-18) to pull ahead for a 2-1 win.
Smith walked off the field after retiring his last three batters of the inning head down and visibly disappointed. The damage was done.
The Mets’ (22-12) next chance at tying it up again came the bottom of the inning off a ball that left Pete Alonso’s bat at 103 miles per hour but died at the warning track. Alonso took off his helmet after rounding first base, equal parts frustrated and perplexed.
It was a much different mood for the Mets just one inning prior, when Scherzer screamed in celebration as he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.
Mariners’ manager Scott Servais joked about what his batters were told about hitting against Scherzer.
“Don’t look at the brown eye,” he said with a chuckle. Maybe they did it. Maybe they didn’t.
Scherzer easily did away with his first 10 batters on Japanese Heritage Night at Citi Field before he briefly slipped up.
Scherzer retired a total of 19 batters, including six strikeouts and two hit batters. He gave up one earned run on three hits and issued two walks over seven innings and 98 pitches on Thursday. It was the first time he hit two batters in one game since July 8, 2021, when he was still with the Nationals.
In the fourth inning, Scherzer plunked France with his four-seam fastball, drawing audible gasps from the home crowd. His second mistake was the single he gave up to his very next batter, J.P. Crawford, who entered the game with a lofty .953 OPS. That fourth inning got a little messier for Scherzer, when he gave up another single, this time to his fifth batter of the inning, Jesse Winker, which allowed France to score and tie the game 1-1.
He got into a little trouble again in the seventh when he loaded the bases after giving up a single to Eugenio Suarez and walking Winker and Ford. But he got his final batter of the inning, Steven Souza Jr. to ground into a double play, closing the inning without another Mariner scoring, and he was able to walk away to ravenous cheers from the Mets faithful.