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Blunder in 13th costs Mets after Wheeler's gem

Starter fans 10 over 7 sharp innings; Smith, Rosario collide in pivotal error
August 20, 2018

NEW YORK -- When the Mets acquired Zack Wheeler in a trade from the Giants in 2011, they saw potential in the young pitcher, and seven years later -- after a plethora of setbacks -- the right-hander has consistently impressed.Despite Wheeler's strong seven-inning outing on Monday, the Mets couldn't get

NEW YORK -- When the Mets acquired Zack Wheeler in a trade from the Giants in 2011, they saw potential in the young pitcher, and seven years later -- after a plethora of setbacks -- the right-hander has consistently impressed.
Despite Wheeler's strong seven-inning outing on Monday, the Mets couldn't get the job done for their starter, losing to the Giants on an unearned run in the 13th inning at Citi Field. With two outs in the top of the final frame, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith collided while attempting to field a popup to short left field, dropping the ball and allowing San Francisco's winning run to cross the plate and send the Mets to a 2-1 loss.
"It's an easy play for our team and we just messed it up communication wise," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.

Callaway was not impressed with the fundamental mistakes the Mets' defense made in the 13th inning, including an error on a routine pickoff attempt to first base and a wild pitch.
Smith was docked with the error on the play that cost his team the game.
"It was hit high and I was playing deep, so you don't want to call it too early," he said. "So when I did finally notice [Rosario] was right there, I tried to call it late, but I called it way too late, and that's definitely on me."

Wheeler went seven innings against the organization that drafted him in 2009, giving up one run and striking out 10. It was his first double-digit strikeout game since Aug. 15, 2014, against the Cubs.
The Mets' only run came in the first inning, when Rosario lined Giants starter Derek Holland's fifth pitch into left field for a leadoff single, then Wilmer Flores drove him in with a double down the right-field line.
Wheeler dominated through six innings, including retiring 10 straight batters after giving up a single to Buster Posey in the first inning. Brandon Belt led off the fifth with a single and Evan Longoria followed with a double, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. But Wheeler buckled down, striking out the next three batters on a combined 12 pitches to escape the jam.

Wheeler looked like he might escape a similar predicament in the seventh when the Giants put runners on first and second with no outs. Wheeler retired the next two, but Alen Hanson blooped an RBI double into short left field, plating Brandon Crawford and tying the game at 1.
Wheeler was frustrated when he watched the game-tying run score in his final inning.
"I think somebody should have been there," Wheeler said. "If they were playing a normal position -- it's nothing with them. I mean you get what you want. You get soft contact, and it costs you a run. You really don't worry about that, because in your head it's supposed to be an out and you just move on."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With runners on first and third and two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Stony Brook University product Daniel Zamora struck out Belt to keep the Mets alive for another few innings.

HE SAID IT
"I feel horrible, but you can't do anything about it anymore. All I can do is come back tomorrow and just keep working my butt off and that's pretty much it. It sucks, especially the way this year has been going, but there's nothing I can do about it now but just turn the page and continue to work and just get better." -- Smith

UP NEXT
Steven Matz looked a little rusty in his return from the disabled list on Thursday, giving up six runs (four earned) over two innings. Matz will look to bounce back on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Giants. In his first and only outing against San Francisco in April 2016, Matz went six scoreless innings in a 13-1 Mets win. He'll take the mound against Giants right-hander Chris Stratton.

Erin Fish is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.