For now, the Mets will have to settle for simply being the best team in the National League.
The magic of an exhilarating opening two weeks evaporated on a windy Saturday night at Citi Field, as the Mets saw their nine-game winning streak snapped in a 5-1 loss to the Brewers.
Entering the game with baseball’s best record, the Mets (11-2) never put themselves in position for another late-game comeback, registering just three hits, while starter Matt Harvey labored through his latest underwhelming outing, in which he allowed two home runs.
A few hours before the first pitch, first-year manager Mickey Callaway said the Mets’ franchise-best start reminded him of what it was like being with the Indians, during their AL-record 22-game win streak last season.
“How relaxed everybody is,” said Callaway, describing the similarities. “You’re just out there playing the game. You’re not worried if you give up a run, you’re not getting too emotional when we score. We’re just going out there relaxed and playing the right way, and there’s a lot of similarities there, for sure.”
By nightfall, a comparison between the clubs looked crazy.
Three days after the Mets were no-hit through six innings against the Marlins, Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson mowed down hitters like Harvey, circa 2013, and didn’t give up his first hit until a two-out infield single by Amed Rosario in the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Harvey couldn’t build on the momentum of a perfect, 11-pitch first inning, and returned to his form of recent years, allowing at least one hit in every inning afterwards, starting with a 30-pitch second frame.
Travis Shaw started the second with a double to right, and Harvey followed by walking Domingo Santana. Following a strikeout of Eric Sogard, Harvey surrendered an opposite-field liner to Jonathan Villar on an 0-1 fastball for a three-run homer to left. It was Villar’s first home run of the season.
After escaping a jam with runners at the corners in the third, Harvey allowed a solo homer in the fourth to catcher Jeff Banty, who crushed a shot to left for his first of the season, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead.
Harvey (0-1) lasted just five innings for the third consecutive outing to start the season, throwing 95 pitches (63 strikes), while allowing four runs and eight hits, while striking out six, and walking one. The 95 pitches were the most thrown by Harvey since June 9, and he still hasn’t pitched more than five innings since May 28.
Since allowing just one hit over five shutout innings in his season debut, Harvey has given up 17 hits, and posted a 7.20 ERA over the past two starts. Harvey also allowed more than five hits in a home start for the first time in nine starts, having entered the outing with a share of the lead among NL starters for the most such consecutive starts.
In the sixth, Michael Conforto gave the team a rare baserunner after getting hit by a pitch, and was brought in for the Mets’ first run, on Yoenis Cespedes’ two-out bloop single to right field, off Anderson. It was Cespedes’ team-high 12th RBI of the season.
Anderson left with a 4-1 lead, having thrown 6 ¹/₃ innings, and allowing two hits and two walks, while striking out five. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress entered, and immediately allowed a single to Frazier, but Rosario hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Mets wouldn’t record another hit.