Max Scherzer’s return from nearly seven weeks on the injured list went about as well as the Mets could have scripted Tuesday night.
But in a case of mistaken identity, Scherzer’s teammates evidently thought he was Jacob deGrom.
That meant giving him nothing in terms of run support, nullifying the zeroes Scherzer placed on the scoreboard against the Reds.
Mike Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth that accounted for the Reds only run in the Mets’ 1-0 loss at Great American Ball Park.
Seth Lugo, pitching for a second straight night, loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth before Moustakas ended it with a drive to medium center field. Buck Showalter later indicated he went with Lugo because Adam Ottavino, who last pitched Sunday, was unavailable.
“It’s frustrating to waste a good outing by a lot of pitchers,” said Showalter, whose Mets saw their NL East lead on the Braves shrivel to 2 ½ games.
Scherzer was brilliant over 79 pitches that encompassed six shutout innings in which he allowed two hits and struck out 11. He finished strong, retiring the last eight batters he faced, six of them by strikeout. Scherzer wanted to go deeper but understood Showalter’s decision to remove him.