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Francisco Lindor leaves with side soreness, Marcus Stroman sparks benches-clearing incident in Mets' loss to Pirates

The Pirates' John Nogowski, left, and Mets starting

The Pirates' John Nogowski, left, and Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman, fourth from right, exchange words as players and coaches arrive during the sixth inning on Friday in Pittsburgh. Credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar

PITTSBURGH — Francisco Lindor left early with an apparent injury, Marcus Stroman was in the middle of another benches-clearing episode and the Mets lost to the Pirates, 4-1, on Friday in an eventful start to the unofficial second half of their season.

The Mets called Lindor’s issue right side soreness, and manager Luis Rojas said after the game that he had no update beyond that Lindor is scheduled to undergo tests Saturday morning.

He exited after his at-bat in the fifth inning. On a groundout to second baseman Adam Frazier — who was in shallow rightfield — Lindor reached for his right side while still in the batter’s box and was late in starting a half-hearted jog to first. In the next half-inning, Luis Guillorme replaced him at shortstop.

"My level of concern right now is obviously high, just from not knowing," Rojas said. "Let’s just wait and find out more."

 

Minutes later, after the bottom of the fifth, a furious Stroman found himself at the center of a scrum of dozens of human bodies.

The sequence appeared to start with two outs, a runner on third and John Nogowski at the plate. On one pitch, Nogowski was late enough in asking for timeout that Stroman began his delivery. When Nogowski lined out to first base to end the inning, Stroman leaped, yelled and slapped his glove in excitement.

Nogowski took that show of emotion personally, according to the pitcher. In assessing his own behavior, Stroman said he was "literally looking at our dugout" and that he purposely does not direct that behavior toward the opposing team or players.

Nogowski and Stroman began jawing at each other, triggering the emptying of the dugouts and bullpens. Pushing and shoving ensued.

Catcher James McCann, who got between them, called it "just a big miscommunication." Nogowski concurred, blaming it on his frustration after making an out in a big spot.

"He starts running his mouth, saying that I’m talking [expletive]," Stroman said. "I’m never one to let any man talk down on me, especially when it’s not warranted at all. He’s just a clown."

Rojas added: "Stroman is going to stand up for himself."

As things started to calm down, Stroman briefly hunched over, then ran off the field. He said his toe got stepped on and he checked to see if it was bleeding.

Stroman remained in the dugout for the next half-inning. Standing at the railing near the first base line, he and Nogowski, the first baseman, continued to converse, this time with laughs and smiles and an unclear amount of levity.

"I was just wondering why he was running away," Stroman said. "That’s it."

That was the second time this season that Stroman helped start such a scene. In Arizona last month, he got into it with the Diamondbacks’ Josh Rojas.

Stroman allowed eight hits and two runs in five innings.

Both runs scored during his 37-pitch second inning, which included a 39-minute rain delay. Stroman allowed three singles and threw 20 pitches before the deluge began. Returning to a bases-loaded, one-out situation in a drizzle, he gave up a two-run single by Frazier.

"Not my best, but something to build off and get going in the second half," he said.

Amid all that, the Mets had another hapless showing offensively. They had three hits, including one after the second. Chad Kuhl allowed two hits and five walks in five innings, but the Mets managed only an unearned run.

They had a runner on second with none out in four separate innings and scored once. They went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.

"We took some quality at-bats," Rojas said. "Situational hitting just wasn’t good."

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