NEW YORK – There was no magic this time. There were weird occurrences, as should be expected with this team, but none provided a dramatic victory.The team that has mounted many late-inning comebacks almost did again, but fell short. The Mets lost to the Tigers, 9-8, at Citi Field, snapping a four-game winning streak.Again, New York failed to sync up its pitching and hitting. The hitting almost made up for the lack of quality pitching, but not quite. “The tale tonight was, after we scored, we couldn’t get that shutdown inning we needed," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "If we would’ve gotten one of them, we probably would’ve won the game." Noah Syndergaard allowed six earned runs, including four in the first two frames. He gave up a lead toward the end of his outing, too. Detroit's JaCoby Jones, who came in hitting .173, launched a two-run shot off Syndergaard in the second. The right-hander needed 51 pitches to get through two innings. Syndergaard compared pitching to a golf swing. Sometimes, it feels great. Other times, something is amiss. He said his frustration level amidst an inconsistent season is "pretty high." "Just about as normal as anyone when it comes to just riding this rollercoaster," he said. "Back to work tomorrow. Would’ve been real nice to get five in a row. I take full responsibility of this loss tonight. Just simply didn’t get the job done."
In the seventh, right after the Mets took another lead, Drew Gagnon surrendered three runs. He hadn't allowed any since April 16, a span of 8 2/3 innings. “You’ve got right now to think about it, and by the time 12 o’clock hits, it’s done," Gagnon said. "You’ve got to come back, be ready to pitch tomorrow. Same situation, whatever situation it may be, I’ve got to come back with everything I’ve got."The bats tried to pick up the pitching all night. Adeiny Hechavarria smashed a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fourth. Then Syndergaard gave the lead back. Just when it seemed this week couldn’t get weirder or wilder, a guy with one hit in 30 at-bats this season, who got to New York at 7 a.m. on Friday, stepped up and cranked a go-ahead home run to left field like it was nothing.
Altherr joined a line of unlikely contributors this week. Rajai Davis ended a whirlwind day with a three-run homer in his first at-bat as a Met on Wednesday, and it came right after Juan Lagares smoked a bases-clearing double. Carlos Gómez smashed a three-run home run on Thursday. And in the eighth inning on Friday, Wilson Ramos sent one into the seats to bring New York within a run. Hechavarria followed with a double, but Dominic Smith -- who has been so good off the bench -- struck out to end the inning.
Perhaps the greatest sign of Friday's craziness is that what happened late took some of the spotlight off Syndergaard’s poor start. He wasn’t sharp as he gave up 10 hits and got a few boos when he exited. It is still a talking point, but less so because so much happened after he left. "It was crazy," said Pete Alonso, who hit his 17th homer of the season in the loss. "I want to say it was a fun game to be a part of, but we came up on the losing end of it. So, I mean, that's definitely not what we want. There were a lot of really clutch moments in the game. It was a really exciting game to be in. It's unfortunate -- because we did our best tonight -- that we came up on the losing end. The Tigers entered this series 11 games under .500. Even with Friday's loss, this week still could be viewed as progress for the Mets thus far. If they are swept by Detroit, then it isn't.
But New York has dealt with injuries in the best way possible. The Mets entered the week in shambles but used a slew of comebacks against a bad Washington bullpen to remain afloat. They are only two games under .500 with a lot of time to make up ground, but a four-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles will say a lot about this club. The Mets have shown resiliency this week. They've scratched to erase deficits, fought for comeback victories. On Friday, the Mets' offense could not be blamed. They did not waste a good start, or fall flat. The bats packed plenty of fireworks, but those weren't enough. “That was a crazy game," Altherr said. "A lot of back and forth, a lot of home runs hit, a lot of momentum swings. Obviously it sucks that we fell a little short, couldn’t come out on top, but I thought the team did a really great job of battling and staying in it.”