The Mets were two outs away from taking four out of five games from the last-place Nationals on Labor Day in a game they had to have, as they fight to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
However, closer Edwin Diaz's flaws in high pressure situations were on full display as he blew his second straight save, melting down in the ninth to allow a walk-off hit to Carter Kieboom.
Since Diaz joined the Mets in 2019, he has been no stranger to being on the wrong end of soul crushing losses. And today was no different, as the Mets lost 4-3.
Diaz got himself into immediate trouble by walking the leadoff batter, and then issuing another free pass to the third hitter he faced to put the tying run in scoring position with one out.
That's when Met killer Andrew Stevenson tied things up at 3-3 with an RBI hit. And with the go-ahead run on third and less than two outs, Diaz surrendered a walk-off infield single up the middle to Kieboom, which handed the Mets a disheartening loss.
In what was initially a positive weekend that would have given the Mets a ton of much-needed momentum moving forward, was spoiled due to Diaz's inability to hold it down in the final inning.
"Today, I didn't command my pitches the way I wanted to," said Diaz who blew his sixth save of the season.
Diaz blew a save in the series opener on Friday night too, but was able to keep the score tied to send it to extras, where the Mets re-took the lead, before ultimately winning the game. Unfortunately, Diaz did not have the same luck this afternoon.
"The command. Walks have killed him," said manager Luis Rojas of Diaz.
Prior to this series, Diaz was 9-for-9 on save opportunities with a 1.13 ERA since blowing three consecutive saves in mid-July. With every game being so crucial as time ticks down on the season, Rojas was asked if Diaz was still his closer moving forward.
"Edwin has done it for us all year," said Rojas. "I don't think we are making drastic changes."
Rojas went on to bring up the offensive struggles today as well. After exploding for 34 runs (8.5 per game) in the first four games of the series, the Mets scored a total of three in this contest and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Although they took three out of five games from the Nationals, they leave D.C. with a bitter taste in their mouths. The Mets have won 8 of their last 11 contests to improve to 69-69 on the year. But with just 24 games to go in the regular season, the Mets are four games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Pete Alonso's go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth gave the Mets a 3-2 lead and Javier Báez's glove helped hold said lead in the eighth.
A shaky Seth Lugo was looking to escape trouble with the tying run on third and two outs. That's when Lane Thomas lined one up the middle, which would have tied the game, if not for Báez, who made a diving stop to knock the ball down, before getting up to make the throw to first to retire the side.
Trevor Williams didn't have his best stuff today, but fought through five innings, while allowing two runs on 10 hits.
Despite giving up the lead in the fifth, Williams was able to limit the damage to keep the score tied. And his offense repaid him as Alonso crushed his 30th homer of the season, and No. 99 of his career, off Patrick Corbin to put the Mets back up in the top of the sixth at 3-2.
Corbin allowed 11 hits and three runs, but tossed seven solid innings for the Nationals.
Although the Mets and Nats' had a total of 25 hits in this game, both teams struggled with runners in scoring position, going a combined 4-for-26.
The Mets will now head down to Miami to take on the Marlins for a three-game set.