NEW YORK — Wrong time for Arizona ace Zac Gallen to have one of his worst games all season.
Gallen was hit hard Wednesday night in a damaging loss for the Diamondbacks as Pete Alonso and Mark Vientos powered the New York Mets to a 7-1 victory.
Arizona dropped into a tie for the third National League wild card with Cincinnati, which won 4-3 at Detroit. Miami and San Francisco are both a half-game behind in a crowded race for the final NL playoff spot.
“I just think we’re trying to do too much, for sure,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
Just back from the minors, Joey Lucchesi (3-0) carried a shutout into the eighth inning and the fourth-place Mets improved to 5-1 against Arizona. They battered the Diamondbacks for the second consecutive night and have outscored them 36-15 this year.
“He pretty much just beat us with one pitch,” designated hitter Evan Longoria said. “He just executed the fastball to both sides of the plate, and we didn’t do a very good job of making adjustments. But give him credit. He made pitches when he needed to. Just frustrated us all night, pretty much.”
Alonso ranks second in the majors with 108 RBIs. He had an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the fifth off Gallen (15-8), who was coming off the first nine-inning shutout of his career. The right-hander held the Chicago Cubs to three hits in a 1-0 victory last Friday with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field.
This time, with Arizona in need of another quality outing, he was tagged for seven runs — six earned — and eight hits over five-plus innings in a disappointing performance that hurt his Cy Young Award chances.
“Just didn’t make pitches. Just didn’t execute, really. Felt fine. Just got behind in some counts and like I said, just didn’t really put guys away,” said Gallen, who is 1-3 with a 6.20 ERA in his past four starts.
“The fact that we’re in this race, I think that’s what makes it more disappointing than anything. I just didn’t give us a chance to win tonight. That’s my job.”
Gallen started the All-Star Game for the National League in July and has a 3.50 ERA in 31 starts covering 192 2/3 innings.
“I think he made mistakes and we took advantage,” Vientos said. “That right there is the name of the game.”
Vientos added a two-run homer off Gallen in the sixth. Francisco Lindor reached base three times and scored twice for the Mets, who have won 18 of their last 22 games against Arizona.
Jeff McNeil scored from first with a nifty headfirst dive on Rafael Ortega’s fourth-inning double.
Lucchesi was charged with an unearned run and five hits over seven-plus innings in his return from Triple-A Syracuse. The left-hander with the funky windup walked three and struck out two.
“He just kept pounding the zone with the same pitches and we didn’t make an adjustment,” Lovullo said. “Offensively, I just felt like we could have had a better approach.”
Diamondbacks: Rookie OF Corbin Carroll was rested after going 0 for 10 in the first two games of the series. … 3B Emmanuel Rivera (left shoulder) returned to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday night. … Lovullo said catcher Gabriel Moreno is expected back from the paternity list Thursday after his wife gave birth to a son.
Mets: 3B Brett Baty exited after six innings with left groin soreness and will undergo imaging. … Touted rookie Ronny Mauricio was sick with a temperature and didn’t play, one night after hitting a 440-foot shot for his first major league home run. New York manager Buck Showalter said he still plans to take a look at Mauricio at other positions besides second base before the season ends. … DJ Stewart was shaken up in the fifth after getting drilled on the right elbow by Gallen’s 94 mph fastball, but stayed in the game. … RF Starling Marte (right groin strain) took batting practice on the field and might play in simulated games at the club’s complex in Florida soon. Injured closer Edwin Díaz (right knee surgery) could face hitters there, too. It’s uncertain if either one will return this season. … Brandon Nimmo played left field instead of center to give his “heavy” legs a bit of a break, Showalter said. … To open a roster spot for Lucchesi, the Mets optioned struggling reliever Sam Coonrod to Syracuse.
Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (11-6, 3.16 ERA) faces rookie RHP Kodai Senga (10-7, 3.07) in the finale of the four-game series Thursday, with an unusual weekday start time of 4:10 p.m. Senga struck out 12 over eight innings in a 2-1 win at Arizona on July 5.
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