What a strange last two days at Citi Field.
We went from heavy rumors and showers from the shortstop on Wednesday turned into a bullpen implosion and heavy rain today.
And those that lasted at Citi Field today got their money’s worth with an affair that lasted more than seven hours – albeit with two rain delays. The vast majority of the very large crowd of 35,604 left the ballpark long before the final out was made after 6:30 pm. Many children on camp day trips with their counselors were forced to leave long before the game concluded.
The 12:10 pm start should have ended before 3:00 pm. The Mets were leading, 7-5, with two out in the top of the ninth and a strike on Derek Norris of the Padres.
At 2:45 pm, closer Jeurys Familia appeared to be one or two pitches from notching his 28th save. A halt to play was called by the umpires as heavy rain fell. Play did not resume until 44 minutes passed, but Familia looked like another hurler. Norris singled for his career high of five hits in a single game. The next batter, Matt Kemp, followed with a single. Justin Upton, the following batter, hit the first pitch into the stands in center to give the Padres an 8-7 advantage. This was Familia’s fifth blown save, but the first in which the Mets did not subsequently win the contest.
Before the Mets could bat in the bottom of the ninth, a second rain delay, six minutes after the first one concluded, began. This delay took two hours and 52 minutes. Padres closer Craig Kimbrel entered after the rain delay in the ninth and retired the top three batters in the Mets order in succession, Curtis Granderson flied to center, Rúben Tejada struck out swinging and Daniel Murphy flied to center as Kimbrel earned his 30th save.
The loss was a rare one for the Mets in the daytime as they have the best day mark in MLB, 24-10. It was also a rare defeat at home as their record in the first 53 games at Citi Field is 35-18.
The Mets starter, Jon Niese pitched his ninth quality start in his last 10 starts, but the Mets bullpen fared very poorly in trying to save his chance for a win. After Niese’s departure after six frames, bobby Parnell loaded the bases on two singles and base on balls. Hansel Robles gave up a grand slam homer to the first batter he faced, Norris, to less the Mets lead to 7-5. The only Mets reliever to pitch effectively was Tyler Clippard, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
The loss was very harmful to the Mets as Washington extended their lead over the second place New Yorkers to three games. The Mets now host the nationals in a three game weekend series at Citi Field.