WASHINGTON, D.C. — Call it a limp-off loss. Ryan Raburn’s bloop single to shallow left field not only gave the Nationals a 3-2 walkoff win over the Mets Monday, but Yoenis Cespedes felt a cramp in his right hamstring as he slid to try and make the catch.
The slugger limped off the field and will likely not play on Tuesday.
“We won’t know really,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He’s going to get some treatment. He said he just cramped up more than anything on the slide. Dehydration, could be a cramp, dehydration leads to pulls, so coming back as early as we are tomorrow I’d be surprised if he’s in there.”
It was a staggeringly deflating way to end the game Monday night. After getting down to their final strike in the top of the ninth, Curtis Granderson had hit a pinch hit homerun to tie the game. Paul Sewald walked Matt Wieters on four pitches to lead off the bottom and Fernando Salas, with Wieters on third, gave up the bloop single, which Cespedes charged hard.
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He slid and the ball bounced right in front of his glove. He came up hobbling.
“It’s just a cramp,” Cespedes said through a team translator. “It could have happened to anybody. I could have been walking.”
But obviously Cespedes is not just anyone. The outfielder that the Mets signed to a four-year $110 million contract in December has a history of leg/hamstring issues. He already missed 37 games on the disabled list this season with a strain to his left hamstring. That was preceded by missing three games for what the Mets said was a “cramp,” in the same hamstring. Cespedes, however, said at the time that felt more like a shock than a cramp.
So the Mets will protect him, even with a limited outfield. Granderson wasn’t sure he could play on Tuesday. That is not ideal for the Mets, who blew their last chance to get back to .500 before the All-Star break.
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It was the second straight loss for the Mets (38-44) and their eighth to the Nationals (49-34) this season.
They have five games left before the All-Star break and are six games below .500. They need to start climbing out of the hole they dug with injuries, struggling starting pitching and a shaky bullpen.
Again Monday night, it was the bullpen that cost the Mets.
After Steven Matz threw seven scoreless innings, his second straight scoreless appearance,
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The Mets bullpen was the fifth worst in the majors going into Monday night’s game with a 4.87 ERA. The absolute worst group of relievers in baseball, however, is the Nationals’ bullpen, which had a 5.12 ERA going into Monday night.
Jerry Blevins, who leads the majors in appearances, gave up a two-run homer to Michael Taylor in the bottom of the eighth. And then the Mets walked two in the bottom of the ninth to lead to the Nationals walkoff win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Brandon Nimmo was thrown out at the plate on a questionable send by third base coach Glenn Sherlock. Jose Reyes’ ground ball to left field was shallow, left fielder Brian Goodwin charged and made a perfect throw to the plate for the second out in the inning.
Ryan Raburn’s walkoff single to left with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
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STAR OF THE GAME
Steven Matz threw seven scoreless innings for naught Monday night, scattering four hits. He walked two and struck out four.
The Mets are 0-36 when trailing after eight innings.
Curtis Granderson hit his first pinch-hit home run of the season with two outs and two strikes against him in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 2-2.
Jerry Blevins, who leads the majors in appearances, has now given up three home runs on the season after allowing four all of last year. He has allowed seven earned runs in his last nine innings pitched.
Mets finally have some hope for season thanks to Cespedes, Matz
Tuesday at Washington, D.C. 11:05 a.m.
RHP Seth Lugo (3-1, 3.55) vs. RHP Joe Ross (4-3, 5.12)
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