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Taijuan Walker’s disastrous start dooms Mets in high-scoring loss to Braves


With a doubleheader looming on Saturday, the Mets might ailing afford a brief begin Friday evening. 

But Taijuan Walker gave them that quick begin, a possible harm scare and an eight-run deficit in a single fell swoop. 

Walker’s evening ended earlier than he might file a fourth out, and he had dug the Mets a giant gap they might by no means absolutely climb out of in a 9-6 loss to the Braves at Citi Field. 

The short-term concern was the 8-0 deficit the Mets confronted by the second inning. But of higher concern was the discomfort that Walker seemed to be pitching by means of, and what it would imply for his subsequent begin, plus the eight innings the Mets’ bullpen was compelled to cowl on the eve of enjoying at the very least 18 innings on Saturday. 

Instead of rolling over, although, the Mets (67-39) made a sport of it, getting inside 8-5 by the fifth inning and ultimately forcing the Braves (64-43) to make use of most of their high-leverage relievers, together with nearer Kenley Jansen. The Mets introduced the potential tying run to the plate within the sixth inning earlier than developing quick and having their lead atop the NL East trimmed again to three ¹/₂ video games. 

Taijuan Walker reacts throughout his tough begin.
Jason Szenes
Taijuan Walker grabs his right hip during the first inning.
Taijuan Walker grabs his proper hip through the first inning.
Jason Szenes

Walker’s harm scare got here within the first inning, when he stumbled after a pitch to the third batter of the evening, Matt Olson, then took a gradual stroll in the direction of the plate and again to the mound. It was not instantly clear what Walker’s bodily subject was, although it drew the eye of the dugout as a coach, supervisor Buck Showalter and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner got here out to go to him. 

But after throwing two warmup pitches, Walker remained within the sport, solely to get ambushed by the Braves. Olson smacked an RBI double earlier than Walker hit Austin Riley with an errant splitter. 

Eddie Rosario got here up subsequent and crushed a three-run homer to proper discipline that put the Braves up 4-0. 

Eddie Rosario, right, celebrates with teammates after his three-run home run in the first inning.
Eddie Rosario, proper, celebrates with teammates after his three-run residence run within the first inning.
Jason Szenes
Taijuan Walker is checked after grabbing his hip on a pitch.
Taijuan Walker is checked after grabbing his hip on a pitch.
Jason Szenes

The Mets had an opportunity to chop the Braves’ lead in half within the backside of the primary, however Ronald Acuña Jr. leaped on the right-field wall to rob Pete Alonso of what might need been a two-run homer. 

The Braves continued mashing within the second inning. Michael Harris II led off with a house run to make it 5-0. Acuña then singled, stole second and got here round to attain on Dansby Swanson’s broken-bat single, prompting one other mound go to from Hefner. 

But after a 114.6 mph single off the bat of Olson, Showalter determined he had seen sufficient, pulling Walker from the sport at 50 pitches. The right-hander’s velocity was down on all of his pitches, most notably his slider (-2.5 mph from his season common). 

Darin Ruf connects on an RBI double in the fifth inning.
Darin Ruf connects on an RBI double within the fifth inning.
Jason Szenes

Trevor Williams entered from the bullpen and acquired a floor ball for a fielder’s alternative that drove in one other run earlier than Rosario capped off the rally with an RBI double ripped to the hole to make it 8-0. 

Williams, who had pitched only one inning within the final 13 days earlier than Friday, offered vital size, staying in for 4 innings and 52 pitches whereas retaining the Braves at bay. He was the primary of 4 relievers the Mets wanted to get by means of the evening. 

The Mets acquired one run again within the second inning, however wasted an opportunity for extra. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brandon Nimmo lined an RBI single to heart discipline, however third base coach Joey Cora waved Luis Guillorme residence from second and he was nailed on the plate on a robust throw from Harris to finish the inning. 

The rally was extra fruitful within the fifth. Singles by Francisco Lindor, Alonso and Jeff McNeil acquired it began earlier than Darin Ruf made his Mets debut as a pinch-hitter in opposition to lefty Dylan Lee and roped a two-run double to get inside 8-4. 

Eduardo Escobar pinch-hit subsequent and lined an RBI single to make it 8-5, however that was as shut because the Mets acquired.



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