Phil Humber tossed the 21st perfect game in MLB history Saturday against the Mariners, but things were different from the very first batter tonight against the Red Sox.
Humber walked leadoff man Mike Aviles before striking out Ryan Sweeney swinging. After Aviles stole second base, Dustin Pedroia singled and Adrian Gonzalez delivered an RBI double. Perfect game, no-hitter and shutout gone within the span of four batters. It only got worse from there.
Humber ended up allowing two runs in the first inning before tossing a scoreless second, but he was touched up for five more runs in the third, including a grand slam by Kevin Youkilis and a solo shot by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The homers by Youkils and Saltalamacchia were back-to-back. Humber responded with a one-two-three fourth inning, but Saltalamacchia ripped his second home run of the game in the fifth, this time a two-run shot.
All told, Humber allowed a career-high nine runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings as part of a 10-3 loss. Going from the best game of your career to the worst? Baseball is a mighty humbling game sometimes.
Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.
Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”
Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.
In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.
This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.