Mets close homestand with thud in sloppy loss to Phillies

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Simulating an all-time modern Subway Series

That’s a lot of trees sacrificed so the Mets can have bats serving such little purpose.

In a performance that has become too typical, the Mets closed their homestand with a thud Sunday, not awakening until late in a 4-2 loss to the Phillies at Citi Field.

Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso combined for five of the team’s seven hits, as the Mets were held to two runs or fewer for the seventh time in 13 games as MLB’s 30th-ranked team in scoring.

The Mets are 5-8 over that stretch, but have lost only one game in the NL East standings. The Mets lead the Nationals by four games.

After Zack Wheeler dominated them for seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts, the Mets finally broke through against Jose Alvarado in the eighth. Alonso’s third hit of the game, an RBI single that followed Lindor’s second double of the afternoon, gave the Mets a run before Kevin Pillar homered in the ninth against Archie Bradley.

Marcus Stroman, returning from left hip discomfort that forced him to leave early from his previous start last week, went three innings and allowed four runs, two of which were unearned, on five hits and three walks. He departed after 74 pitches.

Two sparkling plays to begin the game helped Stroman — Michael Conforto and Pillar made consecutive diving catches in the outfield — but sloppy plays later hurt the right-hander.

In the second inning, Jeff McNeil, covering first, dropped the throw on Wheeler’s sacrifice bunt, loading the bases. Odubel Herrera followed with a sacrifice fly that became an unearned run.

After Nick Maton stroked a two-run double in the third that put Stroman in a 3-0 hole, another flub hurt the Mets: Luis Guillorme threw away Ronald Torreyes’ grounder, allowing Maton to score the Phillies’ second unearned run of the game.

The Mets had their opportunity to claw back into the game in the fifth, after Wheeler allowed a single to Billy McKinney leading off the inning and walked Pillar. But Guillorme was retired on a line drive to third base and manager Luis Rojas, who had already used Travis Blankenhorn to pinch hit earlier, opted to allow Corey Oswalt to bat. Oswalt sacrificed the runners to second and third before McNeil was retired for the final out.

Oswalt gave the Mets a second strong relief appearance, pitching four shutout innings in which he allowed four hits and struck out four. The right-hander allowed one earned run over 2 ¹/₃ innings on Wednesday.

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