Remember when the Mets swept the Phillies? It wasn’t that long ago. It was last week.
One series later, the Mets were swept by the Blue Jays and fell back to .500 with a 6-4 defeat on Sunday before a sellout crowd of 42,169 at Citi Field.
Brandon Belt swatted a two-run home run to center off Dominic Leone to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh.
The Mets (30-30), who will begin a three-game series against first-place Atlanta on Tuesday at Truist Park, had battled back from an early 4-0 deficit on the strength of four solo home runs — two by Tommy Pham, one by Pete Alonso and the last one a tying shot by Starling Marte in the sixth.
“Yeah, but we still fell short, so it really doesn’t matter,” said Pham, who called the loss “devastating. But it’s part of baseball. We’ve got to find a way to get back on the winning side of things.”
Belt’s blast off the facing of the Home Run Apple was the crusher.
Once they fell behind again, the Mets managed only one baserunner in the last three innings — Mark Vientos’ leadoff single in the seventh. He was erased when Francisco Alvarez bounced into a double play.
“I guess as of right now, we’re a .500 ballclub,” said Alonso, who broke a tie with Lucas Duda to become Citi Field’s all-time home run leader with his 72nd at the 14-year-old ballpark.
“They’re a really good team over there, but we were in every single one of these games. We had a chance to win all of them. It’s frustrating, but we’ve got to come back and play our best and win ballgames. Simple as that.”
Kodai Senga, starting on fewer than five days’ rest for the first time, was charged with four runs (three earned) in 2 2⁄3 innings. Senga (68 pitches, 34 strikes) allowed four hits, walked five and struck out three.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the second on Whit Merrifield’s two-run double. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made it 3-0 with a first-pitch homer in the third. Later in the inning, Matt Chapman scored from second when Alvarez threw the ball into center in an attempt to pick him off on the final pitch of a walk to Daulton Varsho.
Alvarez had picked off Guerrero at first to end the first. In the latter case, Chapman steamed around third as Pham — playing center — hesitated briefly before retrieving the ball in shallow left-center.
Chapman beat Pham’s throw home, according to plate umpire Jeremie Rehak. The Mets challenged, and while it looked possible that Chapman actually was out, the call stood and the Mets trailed 4-0.
“Honestly, I thought Mark [Canha, the leftfielder] had a better angle at the ball because I was playing Varsho to right-center,” Pham said. “I thought he was going to get it, and when I peeked, it was kind of in no-man’s land. I did a terrible job. I’ve got to stop assuming and take matters into my own hands because I could have saved a run.”
Pham was plus-two on the offensive side.
He got the Mets on the board with an opposite-field home run to right in the third off Toronto starter Yusei Kikuchi, then hit another one to left in the fifth to make it 4-2.
Pham, who hadn’t played since Tuesday, struck out in his first at-bat.
“First at-bat, I felt like 97 [mph] felt like 105,” Pham said. “After I struck out, I went into the cages and threw a fit, to say the least. I felt like I lost my timing. I’m glad I found it.”
Stephen Nogosek threw three scoreless innings in relief of Senga to give the Mets a chance to get back in it.
Alonso got the Mets to within a run with a solo homer to left in the sixth off reliever Nate Pearson.
Alonso slid headfirst into second as it wasn’t immediately clear to him if his MLB-leading 21st home run had cleared the orange line on the leftfield fence. It was called a home run by the umpires on the field and confirmed via replay.
Marte tied it at 4 two batters later with a laser homer to left.
But the Mets, who scored five runs in the series, still lost and went from sweeper to sweepie.
Manager Buck Showalter said that after the sweep of the Phillies, “I don’t say, ‘Oh, we had it all figured out and this means this is going to happen for an extended period of time.’ Sports, especially at this level, don’t work that way.”