September 27, 2022

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Smith's scoreless streak snapped at 13 1/3 innings

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NEW YORK — No scoreless streak lasts forever, but the one that Drew Smith constructed over the first five weeks of this season was notable in multiple ways. For one, it was one of the longest by a reliever to open a season in Mets history. For another, it allowed Smith to establish himself as a trusted back-end reliever for manager Buck Showalter.

The second part won’t change just because the first part did. Smith allowed his first run of the year in a 2-1 defeat to the Mariners on Friday night at Citi Field, snapping a run of 13 1/3 innings without surrendering one. It was the second-longest active scoreless streak in the Majors, and the eighth-longest by a full-time reliever in Mets history.

“It was a good streak,” Smith said. “Hopefully, I’ll start a new one next time out. I don’t think I’ve ever had a streak like that in the Major Leagues.”

He hadn’t; no Mets reliever had since Addison Reed in 2015. The record for a season-opening scoreless streak by a full-time reliever was 21 consecutive innings, shared by Duaner Sánchez in 2006 and Hal Reniff in 1967. Several others, including Jesse Orosco, John Franco and Joe Smith, constructed longer streaks, but none of them by much.

“He’s spoiled us with a real high level of pitching,” Showalter said. “The command was a little off, I thought tonight. But I can’t really be picky with him. Certainly, he’s shown us better, but it’s hard to do what he’s done. He’ll get back on the horse. He’s a good one. He’s going to help us.”

For Smith, the streak ended mostly because he struggled with his control at the start of the eighth inning, walking Abraham Toro and Adam Frazier in succession. The next batter, Ty France, laced an RBI single down the right-field line. France was the 52nd batter to face Smith this season, and the first to drive in a run.

On this night, that was enough. Max Scherzer delivered seven strong innings, Marco Gonzales nearly matched him and Seattle’s relievers proved stout. The Mets’ best threat to tie occurred on a deep Pete Alonso flyout in the bottom of the eighth, which Alonso believed he hit well enough to eclipse the fence. Instead, the ball died well short of it.

The result was the first loss of the season for Smith, which he was already in the process of shrugging off after the game. The Mets, who have used Smith liberally with Trevor May on the injured list, don’t expect him to drop many more games in similar fashion.

“Sometimes, that has to happen,” catcher Tomás Nido said. “He’s human. But he’s had an unbelievable start to the season and going forward, he’s still a big arm. He’s going to pitch in tough situations. We expect nothing less than what he’s done so far.”

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