Diaz blows save, Bader whiffs on dive, Mets swept by Rays in 7-6 extra-inning loss

Mets Rays
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Jonny DeLuca’s line drive soared past the glove of a diving Harrison Bader in the bottom of the 10th inning, bringing in two runs as the Tampa Bay Rays walked off the New York Mets 7-6 on Sunday afternoon to complete the sweep.

Down to their final strike of the afternoon just one inning earlier, Rays slugger Randy Arozarena tied the game off star closer Edwin Diaz with a solo shot to left, tying the game at five apiece and sending it to extra. innings. It snapped Diaz’s consecutive games-saved streak at 26 — his first blown save since May of 2022.

With a runner at third and two outs in the 10th, Brandon Nimmo’s speed prompted an error by first baseman Yandy Diaz to give the Mets a go-ahead run to make it 6-5. His comebacker glanced off reliever Erasmo Ramirez and went straight to Jose Caballero at second base. His low throw beat Nimmo, but Diaz did not secure the ball as it dropped out of his glove while he tried to trap it in the dirt. 

He was initially called out but video review overturned the call.

Jake Diekman got the ball for the Mets in the 10th to try and close it out, but Caballero stole his fourth base of the game to put a runner on third while walking Ben Rortvedt to put runners on the corner for DeLuca. He took an 0-2 changeup outside the zone to center where Bader opted to try and dive to make the catch rather than play the ball in front of him to limit the damage, ultimately allowing the winning run to score from first.

Omar Narvaez and Nimmo’s RBI singles in the fourth inning took full advantage of a dropped fly ball by center fielder Jose Siri after the Rays took a 4-3 lead in the previous half-inning. While Mets starter Luis Severino allowed four runs on four hits with six strikeouts and six walks, the front of the Mets’ bullpen continued to shine with three scoreless innings — Jorge Lopez, Reed Garrett, and Sean Reid-Foley combined to allow just two hits and two walks — to put them on the precipice of a win in nine innings.

Francisco Lindor, who went 2-for-5, gave the Mets (16-18) an early lead for the third straight day when he lifted his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot, well over the right-field fence off Tampa starter Ryan Pepiot.

The Rays, as they also had on Friday and Saturday, found a quick answer in the bottom of the second, exacerbated by a difficult defensive inning by third baseman Brett Baty. Severino allowed a walk to Caballero, who came around to score when a grounder by Alex Jackson went off Baty’s body and down the left-field line to bring Tampa within one with no outs.

DeLuca hit a sharp grounder to third that was fielded by Baty, who opted to throw behind Jackson as he was trying to scramble back to second. Jackson was safe to put two on still with no outs. Following a Siri sacrifice bunt, Diaz’s single drove in a pair to give the hosts the lead. 

The Mets built a golden opportunity to regain the lead in the top of the third when they loaded the bases with no outs. Starling Marte set the table when his sharp grounder went off the leg of Pepiot for an infield single to move everyone up one base — although it drove the Tampa starter from the game with an injury. But they would only get one run out of it against reliever Manuel Rodriguez.

Lindor smacked a liner up the middle, which was snagged by Caballero and Pete Alonso popped out to second baseman Richie Palacios. DJ Stewart worked a walk to tie the game at three apiece, but Jeff McNeil struck out on three pitches.

Tampa made New York pay for the missed opportunity in the bottom of the third when DeLuca singled home Caballero from second.

Siri provided a gift to the Mets in the fourth, though, as a blooper into center field by Harrison Bader was simply dropped by the Ray. Baty’s single put runners at the corners before and Narvaez tied it up with a single of his own — all with none out — to drive Rodriguez from the game. 

Kevin Kelly was greeted rudely by the first man he faced, Nimmo, who fizzed a liner just past his head and up the middle to give the Mets the lead. Lindor followed with a single to load the bases, but Alonso came up empty once again with an inning-ending double play.

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