Well, we didn’t have to wait long to know that Jeremy Hefner wasn’t going to throw a perfect game, as Alejandro De Aza homered to right to lead off the game. He rebounded well after that, garnering four groundouts, a pop up, and two strikeouts around a Dewayne Wise single through the rest of the order.
The Mets tied it in the second inning when Lucas Duda hit a long leadoff home run. Mike Baxter worked a walk (what else?) and Ike Davis hit a long fly ball to dead center. Baxter was nearly doubled off at first as he was halfway to third, but a poor relay throw and some hustle got him back in safely.
A bunt hit and a dribbler set up Alex Rios, who doubled in a second Chicago run, and there it began to unravel. Conor Gilaspie brought two more in with a bloop double that dropped between three defenders.
The game went quiet from there for a while, with a David Wright walk representing the only base runner for either team until De Aza once again singled. He stole second and made it to third on a John Buck throwing error. A quick ground ball to first, a strikeout, and a lazy fly to left field kept him there, though. Hefner’s night would be done after six innings, having given up 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 5 strikeouts, and an intentional walk.
May 8, 2013; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner (53) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Peavy rolled after the Duda home run, shutting down the Mets’ lineup almost completely. Marlon Byrd hit a pinch hit double to lead off the sixth (only the second Met hit to that point), but was ultimately stranded at third. Peavy struck out Lucas Duda and John Buck in the seventh, but was removed after Mike Baxter hit an infield single. Ike Davis grounded out before a threat could be mounted. Peavy’s final line: 6.2 IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 6K.
Scott Atchison allowed a run on three two-out singles in the seventh before Scott Rice ended the inning by striking out Dewayne Wise with runners on the corners. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a clean eighth, and the Mets were able to get a run on back to back hits by Ruben Tejada and Justin Turner (Turner should’ve doubled, but he took a hard fall rounding first base and had to retreat). After back to back strikeouts, David Wright worked a walk, but Lucas Duda struck out to end the threat.
Jeurys Familia gave up a one-out home run to Alex Rios in the ninth to end the scoring. Addison Reed came on to pitch the ninth, and gave up a run on a Mike Baxter triple and a Ruben Tejada single. Through a Justin Turner single and defensive indifference, the Mets had runners on second and third before Juan Lagares struck out to end it.
- Lucas Duda’s second inning home run was his seventh of the season. He didn’t hit his seventh last season until May 30th. His strikeout numbers have been high (27.8%), but that won’t be much of an issue as long as his OBP is above .390 and he’s on pace for 37 home runs (assuming 600 PA).
- Jeremy Hefner was a victim of terrible luck in the third inning. The inning got out of hand thanks to a slow roller to first and a blooper to center that got caught between Ruben Tejada and Jordany Valdespin. It was a night where Hefner outpitched his line, as he was continually victimized by soft hits.
- LaTroy Hawkins hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 10th. He’s thrown 9.2 innings since then, with seven hits against nine strikeouts. He has still not walked a batter.
- Justin Turner made his first appearance in the outfield, replacing Lucas Duda in the ninth inning. He didn’t get an opportunity to make a play.
- The Mets got the tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings, but in both cases struck out to come up empty.
I feel for Jeremy Hefner tonight. He had poor luck all night with slow rollers and well placed bloops. Through six starts, he’s still winless this year (as are the Mets). The Mets also continued to struggle offensively. They scored four runs in the series while stranding 14 runners. With left-handed starters going for the pirates for the next three days, I’m expecting Lucas Duda to get a day off at some point, and plenty of work for Juan Lagares and Andrew Brown (potentially at first base, where he took ground balls before tonight’s game).