Jose Quintana was cruising until he allowed game-tying, three-run HR...

Jose Quintana was cruising until he allowed game-tying, three-run HR to former Met Andres Gimenez on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Credit: AP/David Dermer

CLEVELAND — Somehow, the Mets’ mess got worse on Wednesday.

All of their recent and seasonlong problems collided for another loss to the Guardians, 6-3, in a game they controlled most of the way.

Their lineup managed three solo home runs and nothing else. Their starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, was good but not good enough, allowing a tying three-run homer in the sixth inning to Andres Gimenez, one of the players the Mets dealt to Cleveland in the January 2021 trade for Francisco Lindor. And what is left of their late-inning relief group failed to keep it close.

Heading into their Memorial Day weekend series against the Giants, the Mets are 21-28. That includes a 2-6 road trip, 6-14 mark this month and 9-20 record since April 21.

The Mets hadn’t been this many games under .500 this early in the season since 2017.

“How do you make sense of it?” Brandon Nimmo said. “I don’t think you make sense of it. You just call it what it is. We’re struggling right now.

“We’re playing to try to win every day, but obviously that’s not working out. It’s up to us to find other ways to get it done. But right now, we’re just getting beat. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”


Frustration levels are high, Adam Ottavino said.

“Obviously,” he continued. “We’re just losing . . . It’s a team, but it’s always a collection of individuals who are each going through their own struggle. We have a large group of those people unfortunately.”

Quintana cruised through five innings on 52 pitches, taking a one-hit, no-walk shutout into the sixth — inspiring manager Carlos Mendoza to believe he would get through seven frames, if not more, which would bail him out of his bullpen problem for a day.

Then Quintana cracked. Austin Hedges laid down a perfectly placed bunt — which came to a stop on the dirt between the grass and the third-base line — for Cleveland’s second hit of the day. The third hit came one pitch later: Tyler Freeman’s double.

That set up Gimenez’s blast.

“We kept the plan against Gimenez: away,” said Quintana, whose game-turning fastball caught the middle of the plate.

Mendoza said: “The whole time, when he’s going through those middle innings, I’m thinking he’s probably going to go deep, especially with the way he’s throwing the ball. It happened quick.”

The Mets jumped ahead via long balls from Pete Alonso in the first inning, Jeff McNeil in the second and Harrison Bader in the fourth against Triston McKenzie, who lasted into the sixth.

It became the fifth time in franchise history and first time since 2002 that they hit three home runs in consecutive games and lost both.

With closer Edwin Diaz demoted to low-leverage situations and Brooks Raley set for season-ending elbow surgery next week, Mendoza’s late-inning options have been limited. Ottavino remains, Reed Garrett has worked his way into such opportunities and others are asked to fill in as needed.

With the score tied, Mendoza planned to use those two and “piece it together” for the rest of the nine outs to go in the theoretical win.

Garrett was up first. He allowed Johnathan Rodriguez a go-ahead single — the first hit of his career — to put Cleveland ahead. Ottavino got tagged for two more runs in the eighth.

For Garrett, his recent imperfections aren’t so much a surprise as they are hints of inevitable regression. Even if he remains excellent, he wasn’t going to strike out every other batter all year.

The upside for the Mets: They can’t lose on Thursday. They’re off.

“We got work to do,” Mendoza said. “There’s always a sense of urgency.”


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