Sunday, August 17, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 2, Mets 1
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- If this is rookie Rafael Montero's final rotation look until rosters expand in September, the 23-year-old right-hander offered a favorable final impression.
Montero allowed one run on five hits in a career-high 7 1/3 innings, but the Mets’ bats again were quiet in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Sunday at Citi Field.
Starlin Castro delivered a game-deciding homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning against Jenrry Mejia (5-6).
Curtis Granderson had snapped an 0-for-17 slump with a two-out RBI single a half-inning earlier against Pedro Strop as the Mets evened the score at 1.
The Mets (59-66) mustered two hits in seven innings against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. They failed to score against him despite the first batter reaching in four different innings.
The lone run Montero surrendered in what became a no-decision came in the fourth inning, when he walked leadoff batter Javier Baez and Luis Valbuena plated Baez with a two-out single. Montero entered with a 6.12 ERA in five career major league starts. He had allowed eight home runs in 25 innings in those outings, including at least one long ball in each appearance.
Before Sunday’s game, Jacob deGrom threw his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list with rotator-cuff tendinitis. DeGrom remains on track to retake his rotation spot next weekend at Dodger Stadium.
No offense: The Mets produced only four hits in the game. Those came on leadoff singles by Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada in the second and third innings, respectively, a one-out single by Tejada in the eighth and Granderson’s game-tying RBI single later in that frame.
It marked the fourth straight game the Amazin’s produced four hits or fewer. That is the third-longest streak in franchise history. In 1963 and 2004 the Mets went five straight games producing four hits or fewer.
Still, the Mets have taken two of three games from the Cubs.
The Mets entered Sunday ranked 29th in runs (90), 30th in batting average (.215), 29th in on-base percentage (.280) and 30th in slugging percentage (.310) in the majors since the All-Star break.
They twice had a runner on second base with no one out Sunday and failed to plate him. In the third inning, Juan Lagares ultimately grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. After a leadoff walk and stolen base by Matt den Dekker in the fifth, Anthony Recker struck out, Tejada grounded out and Montero struck out.
The Mets played without David Wright (shoulder) as well as No. 1 catcher Travis d'Arnaud (day game after night game).
What’s next: Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-1, 1.79) in Monday’s 12:10 p.m. series finale.