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MIAMI — The Mets played a nine-inning game that really was over by the second inning.
Jordan Yamamoto melted down against his former team that designated him for assignment in the offseason. In what could’ve been a revenge game for Yamamoto ended with the Marlins patting their backs as the Mets lost 5-1 on Sunday afternoon in the series finale in south Florida.
“I messed up,” Yamamoto said. “I ruined their chances of winning today. I let the team down. There’s no excuses for that except I gotta be better.”
The Mets (21-19) wrapped up their three-city, nine-game road trip across Tampa, Atlanta and Miami with a losing 3-6 record. They were swept by the Rays, won two out of three against the Braves and managed to get one win against the Marlins in their exciting 12-inning series opener on Friday night — all while being ravaged by injuries to their key starting pitchers and position players.
Despite all the challenges their road trip presented — losing Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Taijuan Walker, Kevin Pillar and Tommy Hunter to the injured list — the Mets flew back to New York on Sunday night holding onto their first place standing in the National League East.
“The injuries stand out,” Luis Rojas said. “It could’ve been worse with all the moving parts. I can’t imagine our general manager [Zack Scott] right now managing a roster, too. Everything’s a challenge. But I’m very pleased with the guys who have stepped up.”
Yamamoto allowed five runs, four earned, in the second inning alone as the Marlins batted around the order and collected four hits off him in the frame. The first three hits Yamamoto allowed were all soft singles, including an infield hit against opposing pitcher Cody Poteet that scored a run. He induced a double play that should’ve ended the inning. Instead, Yamamoto’s inability to make a running catch at first base on a Francisco Lindor throw allowed two more runs to cross the plate. Lindor was charged with the throwing error.
“I thought the throw — height wise and direction wise — should’ve been caught,” the Mets manager said.
The Mets announced after Yamamoto’s four-inning, 73-pitch outing that he left his start with right shoulder soreness, but Rojas said he wasn’t taken out because of his injury. The skipper said, due to his high pitch count, he was ready to take Yamamoto out after four innings either way. Rojas said he learned about Yamamoto’s shoulder discomfort later in the game.
Sunday was Yamamoto’s first start of the year, following his Mets debut from the bullpen earlier this month in St. Louis.
“I don’t know exactly when it started happening,” Yamamoto said of his shoulder soreness. “Maybe the third or fourth inning. … I told them I wanted to pitch, and they were like no, we don’t want to put more strain on it.”
The Mets offense — a lineup that featured just three hitters from the Opening Day starting nine — was lifeless against Poteet.
Lindor, 40 games after he agreed to a $341 million contract extension with the Mets, saw his batting average drop to .194. He went 6-for-34 at the plate during the team’s nine-game road trip.
“I don’t see him trying to overdo things,” Rojas said of Lindor. “His poise in the dugout and the clubhouse is the same poise. This guy is working hard every day and is going out about it the same way he went the first day of the season, when the guys who are on the injured list were still in the lineup.”
Poteet hurled seven scoreless innings against a deficient Mets lineup, struck out four and retired his final 14 consecutive batters on Sunday. James McCann, Brandon Drury and Yamamoto were the only Mets who were able to get hits off Poteet. Johneshwy Fargas was the first Mets hitter to reach scoring position after he doubled in the eighth. Outfielder Cameron Maybin, whom the Mets acquired last week from the Cubs, is 0-for-16 as a Met.
On Monday the Mets open a seven-game homestand against the Rockies, who have just two wins on the road this season, followed by three games against the division-rival Braves. The club has a couple of injury returns to look forward to in Jacob deGrom, starting Tuesday, and J.D. Davis, expected to come off the IL sometime later this week.
“Move forward. That’s the message here,” Rojas said. “We got to be excited that we’re heading home.”