For Luis Rojas, the tipping point was a called third strike on Brandon Nimmo. That sent the Mets’ manager aflame, leading to his ejection in the seventh inning of a 5-4 loss to the Marlins at loanDepot park on Tuesday.
An inning later, Javier Báez showed some fire of his own after flying out in the eighth, barking at relief pitcher Richard Bleier. Up and down the visiting dugout bench, emotions ran high for the Mets, who fell for the fifth time in six games to lose a bit more of their grip on the NL East lead.
If the Mets do not turn things around quickly, they know the 12-plus weeks they’ve spent in first place will mean little by season’s end.
Tuesday’s loss followed a familiar script, as the Mets fell in an early four-run hole for the second straight night — this time behind Taijuan Walker, whose second-half struggles continued against the Marlins. Although Walker recovered to retire nine of the final 10 batters he faced, he allowed four runs and owns a 12.00 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.
The Mets battled back on a pair of Dominic Smith sacrifice flies and a J.D. Davis RBI double, and James McCann’s RBI double in the ninth put the tying run in scoring position before Brandon Drury grounded out to end the game.