Mets settle for split after thrilling Game 1 victory

The Mets’ fountain of late-inning magic only stayed open for one half of their doubleheader Wednesday.

After clinching a series victory in the opener with a dramatic extra-inning comeback, the Mets could not complete the sweep after falling to the Brewers in the nightcap, 5-0, at Citi Field.

The Mets (45-38) settled for taking two of three from the NL Central-leading Brewers (52-36), who had arrived in Queens having won 11 of their previous 12 games. Both wins were come-from-behind victories, including a thrilling 4-3 win in Game 1. The Mets came back from three one-run deficits, featuring a game-tying home run from Jose Peraza in the seventh inning and a walk-off, two-run single from Jeff McNeil in the eighth, for their seventh walk-off and 15th comeback win of the season.

“I can’t say enough about this clubhouse and how we’re in every game, one swing away,” Jacob deGrom said after allowing two solo home runs and striking out 10 over seven strong innings of Game 1. “We ended up grinding out a win today.”

Mets
Jeff McNeil (left) celebrates after getting the game-winning hit in the Mets’ 4-3 Game 1 win, but Pete Alonso and the Amazin’s were shut down 5-0 in the nightcap.
Bill Kostroun; Corey Sipkin

It looked like the Mets might do it again in Game 2, but instead got stuck with their seventh split of a doubleheader in nine tries this season.

Their best shot to complete the sweep came in the sixth inning, when they trailed 3-0 and loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Brad Boxberger. But Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso struck out in three straight at-bats to end the threat with a fizzle.

“We were doing it again, we were showing our resiliency,” manager Luis Rojas said. “It’s just not automatic that guys are going to do this. It’s not going to happen like it does all the time. We pushed, but that’s baseball. There’s going to be days like this.

In Game 1, Peraza took Josh Hader deep in the bottom of the seventh — for the first homer and blown save against the Brewers’ All-Star closer this season — to make sure deGrom’s start didn’t go to waste.

Edwin Diaz lost control in the top of the eighth, walking two batters and hitting another to force in a run, but the Mets came right back to win it in the bottom of the inning.

Brewers reliever Brent Suter began by hitting Smith before James McCann worked a nine-pitch walk to load the bases.

McNeil, who had been mostly quiet since coming off the injured list last month, then shot a single back up the middle to score Lindor and Smith, the latter beating the throw from center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to set off a celebration.

“It’s huge for us getting a series win over another team leading their division,” McNeil said after his first career walk-off. “We know we’re an extremely good team and we can beat anyone.”

The Mets’ two wins in the series came against the two of the Brewers’ top three pitchers, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. Wednesday, Burnes held the Mets to one run over 5 ²/₃ innings — an RBI single from Lindor in the first inning to tie the game at one — before Devin Williams got out of a bases-loaded rally in the sixth.

In between the two solo homers he allowed, deGrom retired 13 straight batters. That stretch included his 1,500th career strikeout — the second-fastest pitcher to reach that threshold, one game behind Yu Darvish (197) — getting Willy Adames looking at a 100 mph fastball on the black in the fourth inning as he struck out the side.

After knocking off a fellow division leader, the Mets will now try to take advantage of the bottom-feeding Pirates before heading into the All-Star break.

“The guys just believe in themselves, everyone in each other, all the way down to the last strike or last out,” Rojas said. “This confidence was built in spring training when these guys met. It’s just been confirmed throughout this season with different games we’ve had and different heroes we’ve had in those games.”

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