BALTIMORE - The Mets are understandably nervous about their bullpen other than Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia. Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to the Orioles showed why.
After Wilmer Flores gave the Mets a 4-3 lead with a solo home run in the seventh, Hansel Robles allowed a tying home run to Adam Jones in the bottom half. In the ninth, Carlos Torres served up a walk-off homer to Henry Urrutia -- the first batter he faced -- as the Mets split the two-game interleague series.
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The opposite-field liner to left was the rookie Urrutia's first big-league home run.
The Mets lead over the Nationals in the NL East fell to 31/2 games after Washington defeated the Rockies, 4-1, Wednesday night.
Terry Collins declined to use Clippard for more than one inning or bring in Familia in a tie game on the road. Both pitched Tuesday. The Mets were off Monday and are off today.
"I'm not going to use them except in the situation they're supposed to be used in,'' Collins said. "We've just got to find somebody to bridge that gap sometimes.''
Noah Syndergaard allowed three runs in five-plus innings. The Mets staked him to a 3-1 lead, but Syndergaard gave up a two-run home run to Jonathan Schoop in the sixth.
"Hung a curveball to Schoop and he hit it out of the ballpark,'' Syndergaard said. "It's the big leagues. That's what he's paid to do.''
Right off the bat, Syndergaard had to face two of his biggest demons: the first inning and pitching on the road. Going in, he had a 5.29 ERA in the first inning and was 0-5, 5.01 away from Citi Field.
Seven pitches in, it didn't look good. Manny Machado doubled on Syndergaard's first pitch and Gerardo Parra singled on his third. It took four offerings for Syndergaard to walk Jones to load the bases.
Syndergaard, mindful of both of his bugaboos, asked the Mets if he could alter his pregame routine. He warmed up later than usual in the bullpen. But it didn't seem to help over the first three batters.
But the rookie got tough. He struck out Chris Davis on a hellacious 3-and-2 curve and got Schoop to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Daniel Murphy homered off Ubaldo Jimenez. They made it 2-0 in the fourth on Flores' two-out RBI single.
Syndergaard retired nine in a row before Jones doubled to open the fourth. Davis walked and Steve Clevenger singled one out later to make it 2-1.
The Mets made it 3-1 in the fifth when Curtis Granderson doubled and Murphy drove him in with a single to right.
With Syndergaard laboring on a hot night, Collins seemed to want to ride him as long as he could. Davis led off the sixth with a double before Schoop tied it at 3. Collins left in Syndergaard to allow a single to Clevenger. Logan Verrett, recalled Tuesday to replace Bobby Parnell, was called in as Syndergaard left after 96 pitches.
Verrett retired three batters on six pitches. Collins admitted he had a possible spot start Sunday for Verrett in mind when he took him out and went with the erratic Robles in the seventh.
"The bullpen's pitched very, very good,'' Collins said. "We've still got a lot of confidence in them.''