Mets starting pitcher Sean Manaea walks to the dugout for...

Mets starting pitcher Sean Manaea walks to the dugout for an MLB baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field on Saturday, April 13, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Mets’ offense couldn’t hit their way out of this one. Though, in what’s becoming a theme of late, they certainly tried.

After amassing 30 hits in their previous two games, the Mets couldn’t compensate for poor pitching, poor defense and a team that has mostly dominated early on, falling to the Royals, 11-7, at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.

But if there was a bright spot for the Mets — and recently, there have been a few of them after they started the season 0-5 — their offense did make a run of it, scoring three runs in the final four innings and bringing the potential tying run to the on-deck circle before their rally fizzled out in the ninth.

Sean Manaea (1-1) had his worst outing of the season, allowing eight runs (six earned) in 3 2⁄3 innings, and Starling Marte made a big error on an easy play in right against the Royals, who strung together 13 hits. Pete Alonso went 3-for-3 with a walk and two home runs and has hit four homers in as many games. The rest of the Mets went 6-for-32.

“We could have easily folded,” Alonso said. “But we battled, we scored some extra runs and we got their closer in the game. Hopefully that helps us out tomorrow.”

Royals starter Alec Marsh (2-0) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings with a walk and two strikeouts, but Kansas City was able to put up a four-spot in the fourth to help key the victory.

Manaea’s troubles started early. Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Loftin strung together back-to-back one-out hits in the first and Nelson Velazquez singled to left to bring home a run.


But, coming off a 14-hit night, the Mets looked primed to pick up Manaea in the bottom of the inning.

Brandon Nimmo walked and Marte laid down a perfect bunt single up the third-base line to put runners on first and second. One out later, Alonso singled up the middle to tie it. Brett Baty hit into an RBI forceout at second and DJ Stewart’s RBI double gave the Mets a 3-1 lead.

It wasn’t nearly enough after the Royals scored three more in the second, though.

After allowing a one-out single by Hunter Renfroe, Manaea lost all sight of the strike zone, walking two of the next three batters to load the bases. The lefty then walked Loftin on a full-count changeup far out of the zone to bring the Royals within one. Salvador Perez stroked a two-run single through the left side of the infield to give the Royals a 4-3 advantage.

“I just couldn’t put guys away,” said Manaea, who struggled with his changeup. “They battled and worked the count.”

Alonso tied it in the third, blasting Marsh’s slider 411 feet to left.

The Royals went ahead for good in the fourth, helped by a rare defensive miscue from Marte in right.

With one out, Witt hit an easy fly ball that Marte lost sight of at the last minute, and it bounced off his glove for a three-base error. Loftin singled him in and Perez hit a long fly ball to center that jumped off the lip of a leaping Nimmo’s glove, tipping off the top of the wall for a two-run homer and a 7-4 lead.

They tacked on one more off Freddy Fermin’s RBI single off reliever Cole Sulser.

“I just missed it,” Marte said through an interpreter. “I closed the glove before the ball was in there . . . That’s an easy play to make. There could be a tornado out there right now, but that’s just a play that needs to be caught.”

Manaea, who came into the day with a 0.82 ERA, allowed nine hits, walked three and struck out four.

The Royals scored one more in the fifth and two in the sixth before Alonso hit his second homer of the game to make it 11-5 — good for his 20th career multihomer game.

Marte hit a solo homer in the eighth and Tyrone Taylor added a sacrifice fly to draw the Mets within four, but John Schreiber struck out Jeff McNeil on four pitches to end the eighth-inning rally.

The Mets had runners in scoring position with two outs in the ninth, but closer James McArthur got Francisco Lindor to ground out to end it.

Still, the loss didn’t quite evoke the dour mood of their earlier struggles — especially with the Mets 6-3 in their last nine games, including a series win against Atlanta.

“We fight back,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “We got down a few runs there and put together good at-bats, put together good pressure to create traffic all the way to the end. Guys battled pitch to pitch. That’s good to see.”


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