Mets and Trevor Williams get pounded in ugly loss to Astros
HOUSTON — The back of this patched-up Mets rotation has largely kept the team competitive, but there will be games against upper-echelon opponents the reinforcements will be severely challenged.
Exhibit A — as in Astros — came Tuesday night deep in the heart of Texas, where Trevor Williams got jumped early and Chasen Shreve cratered behind him in the Mets’ 8-2 loss at Minute Maid Park.
The beat down came hours after Max Scherzer threw 65 pitches in a rehab start for Double-A Binghamton that could be the final step before he rejoins the Mets rotation. Scherzer has been sidelined for the last month-plus after straining his left oblique.
“It’s a good thing when I am not in the rotation because we have everyone healthy and everyone clicking and I am doing my job to give the bullpen a day off when they need a day off,” Williams said after allowing two homers that accounted for three runs over four innings. “When I get the ball to start I give it my best effort and make it my day and give the team the best of my abilities that day.”
The loss was the Mets’ seventh straight in this ballpark, dating to 2011 when the Astros still played in the National League. The Mets are in town for the first time since 2017. Even with the loss, the Mets (45-25) maintained their 5 ½-game lead on the Braves in the NL East.
The Astros (42-25) are dominating the AL West, having established a double-digit lead, after last season reaching the World Series and losing to the Braves.
Jose Altuve led off the third with a shot into the left-field seats for the game’s first run. Williams then retired Michael Brantley, but walked Alex Bregman before Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run homer. The blast was Alvarez’s 19th this season, placing him tied for third in the American League.
“He’s a good hitter and you tip your hat to him, along with the character of this team that they hit your mistakes,” Williams said. “They do a good job of utilizing that and kind of exposing your mistakes. Today they did that.”
Williams, who owns a 3.86 ERA, has joined David Peterson in keeping the rotation respectable with Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Tylor Megill on the injured list. Williams has bounced between the bullpen and rotation, serving the team as needed.
“It’s a real tribute to him that he’s been able to dial up what we need,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I can’t tell you how many times he’s come in and I’ve told him, ‘That’s it. Nice going.’ And he’s always said he’s got another inning if we need it. That has always been his response. That is kind of why he is wanted on the club, and he’s been invaluable to us.”
Kyle Tucker smashed a bases-loaded double in the fifth against Shreve that scored all three runners and buried the Mets in a 6-0 hole. The lefty Shreve, in a second ugly appearance in his last three, walked three batters in the inning and allowed three hits. Mauricio Dubon’s single brought in another run.
After a solid first month of the season, Shreve has pitched to an 8.40 ERA in 13 appearances since May 14.
“I feel like at first it just wasn’t going my way, I got singled to death, giving up runs,” Shreve said. “I felt like today was the first day I didn’t pitch well. I couldn’t locate my fastball, but it was fine. They are a good hitting team and I didn’t have it today.”
Pete Alonso’s 20th homer of the season — a rocket that left the bat at 107.8 mph against Jose Urquidy — pulled the Mets within 7-1 in the sixth inning. Alonso extended his MLB lead to 65 RBIs.
Eduardo Escobar (who had struck out with the bases loaded in his previous at-bat) homered leading off the seventh to give the Mets their second run. The homer was Escobar’s first since hitting for the cycle on June 6 in San Diego.
Adonis Medina surrendered a mammoth homer to Jose Siri in the eighth that extended the Astros’ lead to 8-2.