Luis Severino loses no-hit bid in eighth as Mets fall 3-1 to Cubs

NEW YORK -- When Luis Severino signed a one-year contract with the Mets to reset his market and show baseball that he still had plenty left in the tank, few thought what happened Monday night at Citi Field would be possible.

Severino, the Yankee-turned-Met, no-hit the Chicago Cubs through seven innings before surrendering a hit to Dansby Swanson in the eighth. The Mets eventually lost 3-1 in the series-opener after Christopher Morel hit a go-ahead two-run homer off closer Edwin Diaz (0-1) in the top of the ninth.

But that shouldn’t diminish the brilliance of Severino.

The 30-year-old Dominican right-hander was once one of the city’s great aces and after coming six outs shy of one of baseball’s toughest feats, it’s safe to say he belongs in that category once again.

Pitching against his former Yankees teammate, right-hander Jameson Taillon, the Mets couldn’t give Severino offense, though for a while, it looked like one run was all he needed. Taillon allowed only one earned run (a solo homer by Brandon Nimmo) on four hits over 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out one.

Severino, who has been fantastic for the Mets (14-14) through the first month of the season, was just as good, holding the Cubs (18-11) to one earned run on one hit, walking two and striking out five in eight solid innings.

In the sixth, rookie outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong tried to bunt with one out to break up the no-hitter. It was a bold move for a 22-year-old playing in his 19th game, and maybe even bolder considering it was against the team he was supposed to play for. The Mets drafted Crow-Armstrong with the 19th overall pick in 2020 and traded him to Chicago for Javier Baez a year later.

Severino hit another former teammate in the Bronx, Mike Tauchman, to lead off the sixth. Tauchman made it to second, advancing on a grounder to first base by Happ, but he was doubled off second base, with Jeff McNeil making a tough catch on a shallow liner by Morel. It finished off a 10-pitch inning for Severino.

It felt like the stars were aligning until the eighth inning. Michael Busch led off with a walk and Swanson singled to center, just over the head of shortstop Francisco Lindor. The crowd gave Severino an ovation as pitching coach Jeremy Hefner walked to the mound to talk to him.

With two on and none out, Matt Mervis reached on a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners with one out.

Pinch-hitter Nick Madrigal sent a hard grounder to Joey Wendle, who was inserted at the start of the inning as a defensive replacement for Mark Vientos, at third base. Instead of throwing home, Wendle instead went to second to try to turn a double play. The speedy Madrigal beat the tag at first and Busch was safe at home, tying the game at 1-1. The Mets only got one out.

Nimmo led off the bottom of the first with his third home run of the season, taking Taillon nearly 400 feet deep. He nearly hit another in the bottom of the eighth, taking right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. (1-1) to the wall, but Happ made the catch for the out.

Hector Neris put two on with one out in the ninth, but he struck out DJ Stewart and Brett Baty to convert the save (four).