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Another crushing loss for Mets, who can't seem to find momentum

Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo throws to a

Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo throws to a Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a game in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday. Credit: AP/Adrian Kraus

BUFFALO — What has been true for the Mets throughout this pandemic-shortened season was true again Saturday: They have not been able to sustain any victorious momentum.

Their 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays snapped their win streak, if you can call it that, at two games. The Mets (21-25) have not won three games in a row in two weeks — that Amed Rosario walk-off at Yankee Stadium — and have not won four games in a row since a year ago Saturday.

"Everybody knows the number of games we have left," said manager Luis Rojas, whose team has 14 games to go in his first season as manager and is two games back of the last NL wild-card spot. "We know that right now we’re not in the mix for the playoffs. Our focus needs to be in the game that we’re going to play that given day.

"It was another tough one today. We were pushing to come back, we had a couple chances again in the ninth. The game didn’t finish pretty."

The game ended with Rosario getting picked off first base, a call made after the sixth replay review of the night. Rosario, who struck out swinging with two outs, reached because it was a wild pitch that got away from catcher Alejandro Kirk, who was making his major-league debut. Toronto righthander Rafael Dolis caught Rosario a bit too far off the base.

"In a situation like that, you gotta get back safely," Rojas said. "He thought he was a little bit too far off the bag, that’s what he told me. But his reaction was just a step slow. That’s when they might’ve got him. It looked really close on the replay."

Rosario (3-for-4) thought he was safe.

"Throughout the game, there were similar calls like that that were made and they were never reversed, so I just don’t understand," he said through an interpreter.

Centerfielder Jake Marisnick exited the game in the sixth due to a tight right hamstring. He was 1-for-2 with an RBI, raising his average to .379 and his OPS to 1.069 (albeit in just 29 plate appearances).

Already this year, Marisnick was limited during camp and missed a month of the regular season due to a strained left hamstring. Now, the other leg is giving him trouble. Rojas said pulling Marisnick was "precautionary" and he might be available Sunday.

Lugo allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. That represented the most runs allowed, innings pitched and pitches thrown (91) by Lugo since he joined the rotation four starts ago.

"I threw the ball how I wanted, located pitches well," Lugo said. "It’s tough whenever you get beat by that many singles [five]."

It could have been worse if not for his escape jobs in the fourth and fifth innings. Both times, the Blue Jays’ first three batters reached base. Both times, only one run scored.

Lugo helped himself in the first of those jams with an athletic play to get the first out. He fielded Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s bouncer to his right, then ran to third and slide feet-first into the bag to beat baserunner Travis Shaw for the force out.

"That’s the first time I’ve ever seen it, much less attempted it," he said.

Rojas added: "I didn’t think he was going to get there. Pure instincts."

The Mets scored once in five innings against lefthander Robbie Ray, who looked more like his former All-Star self and less like the guy who woke up Saturday with a 7.51 ERA. The Mets, so good recently with runners in scoring position, were 1-for-9 in those situations against Ray and 1-for-11 for the game. That included three consecutive outs after Rosario’s double to begin the fifth.

Time is running out for the Mets to save their season.

"That’s a realistic thing," Lugo said. "But if we’re focused on that we’re focused on the wrong thing."

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