Cubs’ Jorge Soler scores past Mets catcher Anthony Recker on an RBI-double hit by Matt Szczur during the fifth inning.
CHICAGO — The defensive mistakes keep adding up for the Mets. Wilmer Flores’ throwing error and Anthony Recker’s passed ball cost the Mets a four-run lead as they lost to the Cubs, 6-5, at Wrigley Field.
The Mets (20-15) limp back to Citi Field having been swept for the first time this season and for the second straight year by the Cubs (19-15) at Wrigley. They lost four straight games for the first time this season and were swept by the Cubs in a four-game series for the first time since Aug. 6-9, 1992, also at Wrigley.
The Mets have now lost four of their last five series away from Citi Field.
And they lost this one in odd fashion, even for the Mets.
Wednesday night, it was a walk-off walk that did the Mets in. Thursday, it was Recker’s passed ball in the seventh that gave the Cubs the winning run.
Dexter Fowler singled with one out and advanced to second when Jon Niese hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. Fowler advanced to third on Kris Bryant’s fly ball to right and then scored when Recker could not get his glove on right-handed reliever Hansel Robles’ slider to Starlin Castro.
It was not the only costly mistake the Mets made Thursday.
The fifth inning was a microcosm of the Mets’ defensive struggles with an error and defensive limitations costing them. The Cubs scored four runs, one unearned, in the inning and tied the game.
Mets catcher Anthony Recker high-fives shortstop Ruben Tejada after a second-inning home run.
Jorge Soler led off with a single to shortstop, which Flores was able to get to, but could not make the throw to first in time. He scored on Matt Szczur’s double. With one out, Flores fielded Addison Russell’s ground ball, but he sailed the throw, pulling Lucas Duda off first base and allowing Szczur to score.
That was the 10th error the Mets have committed behind Niese this season and it clearly rattled him. He walked Fowler, who had a solo home run in the last inning, on just four pitches. Rizzo singled up the middle to score Russell and Bryant drove in Fowler to tie the game.
Ironically, it was Recker and Flores who had powered what can be considered an offensive outburst for the Mets these days. Recker had two solo home runs and Flores hit his team-leading fifth homer of the season right after Recker’s second of the day in the fourth inning. John Mayberry Jr. snapped an 0-for-21 drought with a two-run RBI in the fifth.
Niese was charged with six runs on six hits, two of those runs were unearned. He walked one and struck out two. The left-handed groundball pitcher has been a victim of the Mets defense this season. He has allowed 10 unearned runs in 43.1 innings over seven starts.
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