With countless injuries to pitchers and a suspension to an ace in the starting rotation, manager Buck Showalter needed Kodai Senga to go deep into Wednesday’s game against the Washington Nationals.
Senga made it to the fifth inning, minimizing the damage after a couple of rough innings in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss against the Nationals at Citi Field.
The right-hander was up to 85 pitches before the start of the fifth inning, mainly due to a tough second and fourth. The righty allowed the leadoff man to reach base through the first four innings.
In the second inning, Senga walked catcher Keibert Ruiz and gave up a double to former Met Dominic Smith. Striker no. 7, Lane Thomas, put the Nationals on the board first, hitting an infield single that scored Ruiz. Former Padres prospect CJ Abrams singled to left, scoring Smith and extending the lead to 2-0.
Senga allowed one more walk in the frame, but was struck out three times to get out of the inning.
After a relatively quiet top of the third, Senga walked Thomas, who started in right field, to start the fourth. Abrams singled to right and Senga appeared to allow more runs after a wild pitch later in the inning that advanced runners in scoring position with just one out.
But Senga got left fielder Alex Call to strike out, swinging with his phantom fork, and second baseman Luis Garcia grounded out to third.
Reliever Jeff Brigham warmed up in the bullpen, but Senga made it through the fifth inning with just nine pitches. Showalter pulled Senga after 94 pitches over five innings. He allowed five hits, two earned runs, four walks and struck out seven. Senga’s ERA now stands at 4.15.
Mackenzie Gore, a former third overall pick in the 2017 draft, got the start for the Nationals and kept the Mets’ lineup quiet for the second straight night. Eduardo Escobar hit a triple in the third and later scored on a Starling Marte single.
Gore allowed just two more hits on the night and walked two batters. He threw 101 pitches in six innings, allowing one run and striking out a career-high 10 hitters.
Brigham, who was clear for his new team, allowed his first hit of the season — and it was a big mistake. The right-hander’s first hit of the season was a solo shot to right field by third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Brigham gave up one more hit but didn’t allow another run in 1.2 innings of work.
The Mets threatened to score in the seventh after reliever Hunter Harvey walked Brett Baty and Daniel Vogelbach — who struck out for Escobar and Tomas Nido, respectively. Both runners advanced after Brandon Nimmo grounded out, but Mars struck out, swinging to strand the runners
Star Francisco Lindor struck out in just three pitches to end the inning, keeping the Nationals’ 3-1 lead intact.
The Nationals added another run in the eighth on Call’s RBI single off Adam Ottavino.
Showalter’s team also wasn’t sharp on defense Wednesday as they committed three errors on the night. The loss marks the team’s first four-game losing streak under Showalter, who began managing the Mets last season.