Brian Matusz held the Mets to two runs and four hits over his first seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk. He retired 18 of the last 21 batters he faced.
So why is Matusz staring at his seventh consecutive defeat?
Julio Lugo couldn’t turn a critical double play in the sixth as the tie-breaking run scored. And the Orioles didn’t get the memo about Mets left-hander Hisanori Takahashi struggling badly in his last two starts and being on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation.
Matusz threw 82 pitches through seven innings after totaling a career-high 117 in 5 2/3 innings in his last start. The first batter he faced in the eighth, Jeff Francoeur, homered to right-center field to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-1.
It seems insurmountable, given the circumstances.
The Orioles have scored 11 runs in Matusz’s last nine starts while he’s been in the game.
Takahashi escaped a jam in the seventh by retiring Cesar Izturis on a fly ball and stranding Lugo at second base after a two-out single and balk. The Mets made the Orioles pay for it right away with Francoeur’s home run, as we’ve seen so many times this season.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Troy Patton left tonight’s game against Columbus with one out in the fifth and his pitch count at 66. He still hadn’t allowed a run, though Columbus scored once after he departed. No word on why Patton came out.
More Matusz: The eight innings tonight are a career high.
Tonight’s attendance: 42,248.