Down but never out, the Mets rallied twice in the seventh and eighth innings to steal the first leg of Wednesday’s doubleheader over the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3, behind a Jeff McNeil walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth for the first game-winning hit of his career.
His heroics bailed out Edwin Diaz’s non-save-situation nightmares, which on Wednesday when he walked two and hitting a batter — all with two outs — with the bases loaded to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead in the extra eighth inning.
The Mets tied the game in the bottom of the seventh trailing 2-1 — the final regulation inning of the first leg of Wednesday’s doubleheader — when Jose Peraza sent a pinch-hit, game-tying solo home run off star closer Josh Hader into the left-field seats. It was the first blown save and home run allowed by Hader this season.
With Brent Suter trying to see things out for Milwaukee, Dominic Smith was plunked in the hand and chin to lead off the eighth and put runners on first and second. James McCann loaded the bases by working a mammoth nine-pitch walk, still with no outs for McNeil.
The late-inning rallies overshadowed another strong start for Mets ace Jacob DeGrom, who allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of work. But half of those hits were solo home runs to Luis Urias and Jace Peterson as his team could not touch Corbin Burnes and Devin Williams for the first six innings — setting up the possibility of deGrom coming out with a loss.
What would’ve been a great outing for nearly every other pitcher in baseball saw deGrom’s season ERA rise from 0.95 to 1.08 — just 0.04 below Bob Gibson’s 1968 live-ball era record.
Not to be outdone, Burnes provided a reminder that he’s also one of the top pitchers of the National League, going 5.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits with eight strikeouts.
Burnes had a lead instantaneously as deGrom was greeted rudely by Urias, who led the game off with a home run over the left-field fence to give the Brewers an early lead — turning on a 99-mph inside fastball to do so.
It was the second-straight game that deGrom allowed a home run in the first inning and the first time since 2019 that he allowed a lead-off home run.
The Mets got it right back for deGrom in the bottom of the first after Francisco Lindor blooped a single into left field to score Brandon Nimmo — who led off the frame with a double.
Both starters proceeded to settle, trading zeroes across four innings. DeGrom hit his stride by retiring 13 consecutive batters following Urias’ lead-off home run.
His fifth strikeout of the day came in the fourth inning — a frame in which he struck out the side — getting Adames looking for his 1,500th career strikeout. He became just the fourth Mets pitcher in franchise history to reach that punchout mark, joining Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, and Jerry Koosman.
The mercurial hurler also became the second-fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach the 1,500-strikeout mark. His 198 games are only second to Yu Darvish, who accomplished the same feat in 197 games.
But Peterson took deGrom out with one out in the fifth inning to give the Brewers the lead, taking one out to dead center for his fourth home run of the year. It was an uncharacteristic turn for deGrom to give up two home runs in a single game after he allowed just four round-trippers in his first 14 starts of the season.
Burnes, though, only allowed two Mets baserunners from the second inning until he had two outs in the sixth inning when Pete Alonso provided a lifeline for the Mets with a double.
He was pinch-run for by Billy McKinney, who motored to third base on a McNeil cue shot that evaded the reach of Burnes for an infield single.
It was Burnes’ last action of the day as he was pulled for star reliever Devin Williams, who proceeded to walk Michael Conforto to load the bases for Luis Guillorme. The light-hitting infielder, who had just one RBI in 79 previous at-bats, grounded out to second base to kill the Mets’ first attempt at a rally.