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Díaz allows tying HR before Mets lose in 10

If the pitch caught the strike zone, it was only by a whisper. In truth, Edwin Díaz said afterward, the fastball was everything he wanted it to be — 98 mph, just off the outer edge of home plate in a spot where Marcell Ozuna would not be able to pull it. A pitcher’s pitch.

And yet Díaz had not even completed his follow-through when Ozuna connected, hitting the ball squarely while Díaz whirled on one foot to watch. As the ball landed just over the right-center-field fence, rolling into the Mets’ bullpen to tie a Saturday matinee that the Braves would go on to win, 5-3 in 10 innings, Díaz’s lips curled into the shadow of a smile.

“I can’t do anything but laugh when I do everything I want to do and that’s still the result that happens,” Díaz said through an interpreter.

Without context, Ozuna’s home run would have been an unfortunate blot on a still-young season. Díaz would have spoken about having a short memory, about moving onto the next day, about leaving this one in the past.

But for Díaz, this was not simply one blown save; it came against the backdrop of last year, when he blew seven saves in 33 chances, lost seven games, posted a 5.59 ERA and allowed 15 home runs — as many as in his previous two seasons combined. As if the pressure of coming to New York with Robinson Canó in a seven-player trade were not enough, Díaz exacerbated it with his 2019 performance.

Mets officials spent all winter and spring declining to commit publicly to Díaz as their closer, but when his team took a one-run lead into the ninth inning on Opening Day, new manager Luis Rojas gave him the ball. He converted. A day later, the Mets again took a one-run lead into the ninth, and again gave the baseball to Díaz.