The Mets wanted Friday night to be a blackout at Citi Field, but didn’t mean for it to include their offense.
It was a busy trade deadline day: Carlos Carrasco made his Mets debut after the Mets acquired Javier Baez, brought back their black jerseys and shut down Jacob deGrom with an injury setback. But the Mets’ bats delivered the ultimate buzzkill Friday night in a 6-2 loss to the Reds.
The Mets (54-48) fell to 7-8 since the All-Star break and were left hoping that Baez’s arrival on Saturday can provide a shot in the arm for MLB’s third-worst offense, which had been playing better of late.
The jugular was there for the taking in the first inning, but the Mets came up empty, failing to score on a bases-loaded, no-out situation that loomed large the rest of the game. The Mets, who did get a run in the inning, only mustered seven baserunners the rest of the way after letting the Reds (55-49) off the hook early.
Michael Conforto, who struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning, was the face of the Mets’ struggles Friday. He was booed on multiple occasions while going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, his batting average falling to .199.
Carrasco turned in a strong outing, despite allowing a home run on the first pitch he threw in a Mets uniform when Jonathan India took him deep to lead off the game. He threw 58 pitches across four innings, giving up the one run on three hits and one walk while striking out four.
The Mets offered little support in the way of runs, though. Sonny Gray and the Reds bullpen at one point retired 15 straight batters into the eighth inning, at which point the Mets trailed 3-1. They finally threatened, with runners on first and second with one out in the eighth, but Mychal Givens escaped by getting Jeff McNeil to pop out and Pete Alonso to ground out to end the inning.
The Reds then piled on with three runs in the top of the ninth, including India’s second home run of the night, a two-run shot off Anthony Banda for the 6-1 lead.
The Mets scratched across a run in the bottom of the ninth, but left two more runners on to end the night the way they started it.
Brandon Nimmo led off the first inning with a single and then scored all the way from first on a double by McNeil, tying the game at one and extending McNeil’s career-high hitting streak to 16 games. Alonso followed with a walk and Dominic Smith singled to load the bases with no outs.
Gray was on the ropes, but the Mets couldn’t take advantage, as Conforto struck out and Jonathan Villar grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Gray, the former Yankees right-hander, settled in from there, following up with five scoreless innings in which he only allowed two hits.
The Reds got the lead back in the fifth inning off Miguel Castro. The reliever recorded two quick outs before India doubled and Jesse Winker singled, putting the Reds up 2-1.
Joey Votto remained scalding hot in the sixth inning, homering in his seventh straight game with a solo shot off Drew Smith that pushed the Reds’ lead to 3-1. The Cincinnati first baseman now has nine home runs in his last seven games.