Mets stifled by old friend Chris Bassitt, win streak snapped in 3-0 loss to Blue Jays

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Chris Bassitt Mets
Toronto Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt pitches during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the New York Mets on Friday, June 2, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS — Chris Bassitt was pitching like he had somewhere else to be, which was exactly the case on Wednesday night against his former club, the Mets. 

With his wife in labor, a 1:31 rain delay, and a ride to the airport waiting for him, the right-hander spun a gem in his return to Citi Field after spending the 2022 campaign with the Mets, recording 7.2 shutout innings while allowing just three hits in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 3-0 victory.

“He had a big mix of pitches working and a lot of things you had to honor, especially when you’re behind,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “IT kind of plays into what he’s good at. He’s good at a lot of things. We’ve seen that before.”

It snapped the Mets’ (30-28) three-game win streak and saddled Justin Verlander with his third loss of the season despite a six-inning effort in which he gutted out 117 pitches and allowed just a George Springer home run to lead off the game and five hits in total with eight strikeouts.

Verlander received the dubious honor of becoming the first Mets pitcher this season to go six or more innings and lose. They had been 16-0.

“You try not to get frustrated by things like that,” Verlander said. “Home runs happen especially this year when the balls are going out a little more frequently. You just have to reset and keep making pitches… They did a good job grinding… This was just one of those days.”

Justin Verlander Mets
Justin Verlander(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

 Springer put Toronto up two pitches into the game, lifting a 94-mph fastball from Verlander over the center-field fence. It was the outfielder’s 54th career lead-off home run, tying Alfonso Soriano for second-most in MLB history.

The Mets put runners at the corners with no outs in the third inning, but Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil pop-outs to third base sandwiched a Francisco Lindor strikeout in succession to come away with nothing.

“I was looking for the fastball he threw me,” Lindor said of his looking strikeout against Bassitt. “I just couldn’t pull the trigger on it. Neither of them… I got caught up wit his mechanics and he threw me out of rhythm. Hats off to him.”

Bassitt, who went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA in his lone season in New York, proceeded to shut the door on them after that, setting the Mets down in order in the fourth and fifth innings on just 15 pitches to raise his total at that point to just 59 tosses. He needed 17 pitches to get through the sixth but still came away with a third-consecutive 1-2-3 frame.

“What’d we have, three, four hits?” Showalter asked. “I’ll tip my hat to the pitcher. He pitched well tonight.”

Meanwhile, Verlander ran into trouble in the sixth inning that could have seen the Blue Jays break the game open by loading the bases on two singles and a walk. But with two outs and on his final pitch of the night, he struck out Daulton Varsho swinging to end the threat and keep the Mets within one. Each of Verlander’s eight strikeouts on Wednesday night came via the slider. 

“[To throw 117 pitches] in six innings, not great,” Verlander said. “Some good at-bats from them… It just ended up being a long inning. I’m thankful for the opportunity and was glad I was able to come through.”

The Mets finally ended Bassitt’s streak of consecutive batters retired at 14 with two outs in the seventh inning when Starling Marte poked a two-out single to right field. He stole second to put the tying run in scoring position for the first time since the third inning, but Mark Vientos grounded out.

Daulton Varsho broke it open for the Blue Jays in the top of the ninth when, swinging 3-0, launched his ninth home run of the season off reliever Jeff Brigham into the second deck of the right-field seats to make it a three-run game.

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com