Stunning walk-off slam caps Mets' rough day

Davis provides bright spot with 2-HR game in return to starting lineup

July 18th, 2021

There are some days that you want to turn the page on. For the Mets, Saturday was one of those days. 

Heading into the eighth inning with a six-run lead, it looked as if New York would cruise to its first victory after the All-Star break. 

But Seth Lugo gave up five runs in the eighth and Edwin Díaz gave up a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the ninth, leading to the Mets incurring a 9-7 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. 

“It's not going to get us down,” Lugo said. “We're going to come up tomorrow and we're going to play a good, hard game and try to take something away from this series and keep moving forward. We got a lot of baseball left and one loss doesn't define the team. We're a good ballclub and we're going to show up tomorrow.”

The blown save was the third out of the 22 opportunities Díaz has had this season, and it came as a surprise for him to see Jacob Stallings’ fly ball sail over the left-field wall.

"I couldn't believe it when it cleared the fence,” Díaz said. “I thought it was a fly ball. It kept carrying, [and] he got the homer."

Lugo gave up three hits and walked two batters in his two-thirds of an inning before lefty Aaron Loup was called from the bullpen to record the final out in the eighth. 

Despite Brandon Nimmo’s solo homer to give the Mets an insurance run in the ninth, Díaz struggled with his command even before Stallings’ slam.

Mets manager Luis Rojas said Díaz, who hit a batter and walked one to begin the inning, had looked like he regained his composure before giving up the first-pitch homer to Stallings.

“This is a guy that has electric stuff,” Rojas said. “His command sometimes can [fluctuate] like this, especially after five days without throwing. But we're always looking for him to find himself back, and we thought he was doing it, coming back into the two-out bases-loaded [situation] against Stallings, but you know, the ball sailed into his barrel.”

The loss comes on the same day the Mets got news of injuries to key players.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, Francisco Lindor was placed on the injured list with a right oblique strain. It was later announced that ace Jacob deGrom would be shut down after experiencing right forearm tightness.

J.D. Davis, who went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs, provided a positive light for the Mets in what was his first start since coming off the IL.

The 28-year-old opened up the scoring by connecting on the first pitch he saw from Pirates starter Wil Crowe in the fourth inning and sent it a Statcast-projected 410 feet to center field for a two-run blast. He added to his homer total in the sixth by going to the opposite field off of Crowe for another two-run homer that jumped off the bat at 105.7 mph.

The pair of homers marked Davis' first time going deep since April 25 after he was sidelined by a left hand strain that kept him out of action for more than two months. Davis’ two-homer performance was just the second of his career, with the other coming on April 6, 2019, against the Nationals.

“That's the J.D. that we know,” Rojas said. “We know he's going to contribute with the bat. He got our offense going [with] the first four runs immediately, and then we added two more. But it's great that we have him in the middle now. I think he's going to help us score more runs.”