WASHINGTON — Patrick Corbin dominated, and Wilmer Font was bad. That’s a formula for a short and hard loss, which is exactly what happened as the Mets fell 5-1 to the Nationals on Wednesday night.
The Washington left-hander got 11 strikeouts against a scuffling New York offense that couldn’t string hits together. Corbin opened the game by striking out the side on 17 pitches.
Enter Wilmer Font. The right-hander made his second start for the Mets and dug them into a hole they couldn’t escape.
“They were all bad,” Font said of his pitches across the board. “I just didn’t have the right feeling.”
Font opened his start with a walk, a single and an RBI double. The latter of the three scored the game’s first run on Anthony Rendon’s sharp liner to center field. Font was scheduled to throw a maximum of 80 pitches, but he was pulled at just 63 when he couldn’t stop the damage.
His second spot start in place of an injured Steven Matz ended with an abysmal five earned runs allowed on six hits and two walks, two strikeouts and one home run over 2.1 innings. It’s safe to say the Mets can’t wait for Matz to come back.
“Font wasn’t quite getting the ball where he wanted to,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “He was trying to go up some, didn’t get it up enough. The leadoff walk. Really it was about their pitcher setting the tone in the first, striking out the side. Corbin’s really good. He had a really good night.”
Meanwhile, the New York offense scraped just four hits against Corbin. The southpaw pitched eight innings of one-run ball and issued just one walk.
J.D. Davis knocked in the Mets’ lone run on a looping double off the left-field wall in the third. But Met bats went silent until the eighth inning. In between, right-handed reliever Drew Gagnon was the only Met to record a hit, on a single to center in the fifth inning. Jeff McNeil sliced a two-out infield single in the eighth before the Mets called it a day, heading back to the visitor clubhouse with their heads hanging low.
“Last time Corbin pitched, we were competitive,” Callaway said. “Tonight, were we in the ballgame? The score wasn’t outrageous, but it didn’t feel like we were in the ballgame because of what Corbin did.”
Robinson Cano, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Amed Rosario and Wilson Ramos combined to go 0-for-18. While the majority of those hopeless at-bats came against Corbin, that group of hitters went down without a fight in the ninth inning against Sean Doolittle as well.
The loss dropped the Mets (20-21) back one game under .500 in what has been a seesaw of a month for the team.
“I’m the guy that’s always positive,” Cano said. “So I don’t look back and I’m never going to put my head down and try to look for excuses. It’s just a bad start. But I’m always positive every day and ready to play. Taking it game by game.”
Davis made an appearance in left field for the Mets for the first time this season. Though he started the game at third base, Davis had been taking reps in the outfield during batting practice in recent weeks. Callaway thought it was a good opportunity to plug him in left, with the Mets trailing the Nationals by four runs and a ground-ball pitcher in Jeurys Familia on the hill.
“We want to start getting Davis comfortable out there,” Callaway said.
Familia returned to the mound for the first time since going on the 10-day injured list with a sore right shoulder two weeks ago. He threw 12 pitches with one strikeout for a scoreless eighth inning.