Mets’ offensive frustrations grow in loss to Red Sox

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Garrett Richards arrived at Citi Field on Tuesday with 13 walks, 12 strikeouts and a 6.48 ERA through his first four starts for the Red Sox this season.

The Mets welcomed him with a parade of whiffs.

Richards struck out 10, walked none and induced 19 swings-and-misses as a slumping Mets offense lacked a punch in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox.

The Mets (9-9) notched seven hits off Richards, but Jeff McNeil’s solo home run was the only one that hurt. They had two hits apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and came away with nothing to show for it as their inconsistent bats fell flat to open a two-game series against the Red Sox (15-9).

David Peterson, who made his MLB debut with a win against the Red Sox at Fenway Park last July, turned in another quality start against Boston. He bounced back from a short start last week against the Cubs to toss six solid innings and give up just two runs, but was charged with the tough-luck loss.

The Red Sox broke a 1-1 tie off Peterson in his final inning of the night. Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the sixth by slicing a line drive to the right-field corner for a double. He came around to score on Rafael Devers’ flare to left field as the Red Sox took the lead.

It was enough to sink the Mets thanks to Richards’ seven innings of one-run ball. Matt Andriese and Matt Barnes followed by setting down the Mets in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

McNeil had recorded the game’s first hit in the second inning. Around three strikeouts by Richards in the frame, McNeil crushed a solo home run to the upper deck in right field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

But Bobby Dalbec quickly returned the favor in the top of the third, drilling a slider from Peterson into the Red Sox bullpen to tie the game 1-1.

McNeil had a chance to answer back in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Michael Conforto doubled and took third on a hard single to left field by J.D. Davis. But they were stranded on the corners as Richards struck out McNeil to escape the jam.

The Mets notched a pair of singles in the fifth inning but Richards still managed to face the minimum. James McCann led off and was thrown out trying to stretch a single to left field into a double. Kevin Pillar later singled with two outs but then was caught stealing second.

The Mets’ frustrations grew in the bottom of the sixth, when they recorded two hits for the third straight inning and still came away with nothing to show for it. Francisco Lindor led off with a single and Conforto later added his second hit of the night with a two-out single, but they were left on first and second as Davis flew out to end the inning.

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