Left-hander David Peterson had the best outing of his career, but it wasn’t enough as the Rays edged the Mets, 3-2, at Tropicana Field on Friday night. The loss snapped New York’s seven-game winning streak as its record dropped to 18-14.
The Rays won the game in the bottom of the ninth. With the bases loaded, two outs and left-hander Aaron Loup on the mound, Brett Phillips singled to right field, scoring Brandon Lowe to end the game.
The loss spoiled a great outing from Peterson, who reached uncharted territory. He had the longest outing of his career, pitching 7 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on four hits. How good was Peterson? At one point during the game, he retired 17 straight hitters. His fastball command was near perfect.
“He was able to command the fastball in and out against righties,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “He elevated the pitch when he needed it. That helped the changeup and the slider.”
Peterson’s streak was broken in the top of the eighth inning when Mike Zunino led off and hit a mammoth home run to cut the Mets’ lead in half. Rojas let his starter pitch past the seventh inning because Peterson had thrown only 83 pitches, and he was facing the bottom of the order. Zunino, for example, was hitless with a walk before hitting the home run. The Mets’ biggest concern was facing Randy Arozarena, who was batting fourth in that inning.
Peterson would face two more hitters before leaving the game in favor of right-hander Trevor May, who allowed an RBI double to Manuel Margot to tie the score at 2.
Earlier, it looked like it was going to be a short night for Peterson. With one out in the second inning, the Rays had the bases loaded. It didn’t help that two of the runners reached base on walks.
“I tried to get too fine on some pitches. I got myself back in a hole that I needed to find my way out of,” Peterson said.
But Peterson managed to get out of the inning when Kevin Padlo and Phillips struck out to end the threat. Getting out of the inning was a huge confidence boost for Peterson.
“It was good to have [catcher] James [McCann] back there,” Peterson said. “He was a main factor, and having a good defense behind me allowed me to throw strikes and put the ball in play. Yeah, that was a key moment to get out of that inning.”
Peterson’s counterpart, Tyler Glasnow, was just as good. He pitched eight innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Glasnow was dominant in the early going, as the Mets were held without a baserunner in the first four innings.
But the Mets came through in the clutch in the fifth inning, when Jonathan Villar hit a two-run homer to break the scoreless tie.
“We made adjustments. He is a great pitcher and that's what we did in that fifth inning,” Villar said. “It was tracking the ball, being able to see the ball and put the ball in play. That’s the biggest thing for us.”