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Mets fall behind early, rally, then tumble in 10th as Cubs finish sweep

Pete Alonso #20 of the Mets hits a

Pete Alonso #20 of the Mets hits a two run home run in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 22, 2021 in Chicago. Credit: Getty Images/Quinn Harris

CHICAGO — The weather at Wrigley Field finally warmed up Thursday. The Mets’ bats did not.

Jason Heyward hit a walk-off single against Edwin Diaz in the 10th inning, sending the Mets to a 4-3 loss to the Cubs, who swept the series.

The three-game losing streak is the first of the season for the Mets (7-7), who head to New York for a five-game homestand against the Nationals and Red Sox. They are averaging 3.21 runs per game, worst in the majors, and are tied for first in the NL East.

"Getting swept feels like eating a (expletive) sandwich, to be honest with you," said Pete Alonso, who homered for the second night in a row. "It was a tough series for sure. The Cubs played well, and we didn’t play up to our full potential."

 

Manager Luis Rojas added, speaking of the week generally: "It’s almost like we beat ourselves."

Javier Baez, who began the inning at second base under MLB’s pandemic extra-innings rule, scored the winning run. But the Mets nearly retired him two batters prior. With first and second and nobody on, David Bote bunted. Alonso fielded it, looked to third to maybe get Baez out, slipped, recovered and threw to first instead.

"I had the play," Alonso said. "I slipped. The grass got some condensation on it as it got colder throughout the night, got a little wet out there."

The Mets intentionally walked Eric Sogard, a contact hitter, to set up a bases-loaded situation for Heyward. His hard ground ball through the right side of the infield ended the game.

Moments prior, in the top of the 10th, the Mets squandered a primo scoring opportunity. The free runner and two walks loaded the bases with one out, but righthander Dan Winkler got Dominic Smith to ground into a double play.

"You have the bases loaded (with) one out and a guy like Dom, who led the team in RBIs last year, so you’re pretty confident you’re going to score," Rojas said. "You even think of more than one run at the time."

Lefthander Joey Lucchesi allowed three runs in three innings. None of the Mets’ starters finished four innings this series.

Lucchesi struck out five of his first seven batters but unraveled in the third. He walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, light-hitting outfielder Jake Marisnick and pitcher Trevor Williams, to present the Cubs (9-9) with a rally. Chicago capitalized, scoring on Willson Contreras’ infield single (off Lucchesi) and Kris Bryant’s double (to left-center).

"I messed up when I walked the pitcher," Lucchesi said of Williams, who held the Mets to two runs in five innings. "I shouldn’t have done that."

The Mets did all that with three of their regulars absent from the starting lineup.

Brandon Nimmo had a stiff right hip. J.D. Davis, who has hit well but made three errors in the previous two games, sat in favor of Luis Guillorme. And Jeff McNeil, hitting .163 with a .529 OPS, was replaced by Jonathan Villar.

Rojas framed Guillorme and Villar’s presence as wanting to keep them involved. But there is no hiding the respective struggles of McNeil, who entered late and struck out in the 10th, and Davis, who had a pinch-hit RBI double.

On the Mets’ first defensive play of the game, Guillorme laid out for a diving stop to turn Ian Happ’s rocket of a ground ball into an out.

"Why give up on him at this point in the season, when he's put in so much work and we've actually seen some results in his defense at third?" Rojas said of Davis, who he expects to return to the lineup Friday. "We still feel pretty strong that he can go in there and play the position and make some plays for us."

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