ATLANTA -- The Mets' bullpen wasted another quality start from Jacob deGrom and a late go-ahead homer from Devin Mesoraco as Seth Lugo served up a two-run walk-off homer to Braves pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson to drop Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader, 4-3, at SunTrust Park."Things just aren't going our way,"
ATLANTA -- The Mets' bullpen wasted another quality start from Jacob deGrom and a late go-ahead homer from Devin Mesoraco as Seth Lugo served up a two-run walk-off homer to Braves pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson to drop Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader, 4-3, at SunTrust Park.
"Things just aren't going our way," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "I think that we'll snap out of it eventually. It's tough right now. I'm sure they're feeling a lot of pressure that we've gotta get the job done, and they will."
deGrom took his seventh no-decision in his last nine starts after going seven innings in his third straight outing. The right-hander yielded one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. He had to wait out a 31-minute rain delay before pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth. deGrom threw 115 pitches, which Mets manager Mickey Callaway said was his limit before the game.
"I came in here and moved around, put some heat packs on and stayed loose," deGrom said of the rain delay.
deGrom has allowed just two runs in his last 39 1/3 innings, and he lowered his ERA to a National League-best 1.52.
The Mets intended to use Lugo for two innings in either of Monday's games, and Callaway said he planned to use Lugo if deGrom went seven frames, which he did. Under usual circumstances, if Lugo's spot in the batting order had come up, they would have pinch-hit for him and sent out closer Jeurys Familia to seal the game. But the shortage of pitchers in the Mets' bullpen altered Callaway's plan, and he wanted Lugo to close out the game, Callaway sent the righty to the plate to bunt after Amed Rosario hit a one-out single in the top of the ninth.
The Mets manufactured a run without recording a hit in the top of the first off Braves lefty Max Fried, taking a 1-0 lead on Mesoraco's bases-loaded walk. Luis Guillorme delivered an RBI double to left in the fourth to give New York a 2-0 advantage.
Tyler Flowers cut the Mets' lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot to center, and deGrom soon found himself in a first-and-third jam with no outs, but retired the next three batters to end the threat.
"You've really gotta focus and I try to make every pitch. You want a mindset [where you feel] like it's two strikes when they step in, every pitch is like a two-strike pitch, and you try not to leave anything in the middle of the plate," deGrom said.
Lugo was greeted in the bottom of the eighth with a bunt single by Ozzie Albies, followed by a Freddie Freeman single to put runners at the corners. The Braves would tie the game at 2 on Nick Markakis' sacrifice fly to right.
Mesoraco led off the top of the ninth with a solo shot to left, his fifth of the season, all of which have come in the eighth inning or later. It was the third go-ahead homer he's hit in the ninth inning or later in his career, with the last two coming against the Braves.
"I do like to hit later in the game," Mesoraco said. "I think it's somewhat proven that I am a better hitter later in the game against relievers, so that's a situation that I feel comfortable in. I would like to start the game off with more home runs and get us a lead, that would be nice."
Lugo gave up a leadoff walk to Johan Camargo in the bottom of the ninth, and one out later Culberson ended the game with a shot to left-center on a 1-2 pitch.
"I felt like the curveball was up a bit, so I probably shied away from it more than I should have," Lugo said.
The Mets have now lost four in a row and fell to 25-25 on the season.
"Right now, the way things have been going I feel OK that we're 25-25, to tell you the truth," Callaway said. "That's how bad it's been going."
The home run deGrom gave up to Flowers in the bottom of the seventh snapped his streak of 19 scoreless innings against the Braves, which dated back to September 16, 2017. The righty owns a 5-3 record against Atlanta with a 1.84 ERA in 13 starts. He has also gone 12 road starts without losing to an NL East team, which is a franchise record. Ron Darling previously held the record with 10 such starts in 1987.
HE SAID IT
"He just stays composed, makes pitches, doesn't try to do too much. As a hitter in that situation you want to go up there and put the pressure on the pitcher. And [with deGrom], that doesn't work. He puts the pressure on the hitter. He's just calm as can be and he goes out and makes pitches." -- Mesoraco, on deGrom getting out of fourth- and seventh-inning jams
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta.