Mets drop into NL East tie as Carlos Carrasco struggles in loss to Marlins

The 10 ½-game edge the Mets held on June 1 is a distant memory. The 2 ½-game lead the Mets rebuilt as recently as Friday has been torn down.

With seven games to play — three of which will be head to head — it’s a clean slate in the NL East. The Mets and Braves are all tied up, which sets the stage for a dramatic final week that manager Buck Showalter’s Mets wanted to avoid.

The Mets dug a first-inning hole they never climbed out of and lost 6-4 to the Marlins in front of 29,067 at Citi Field on Tuesday, just their third loss in the past 11 games, they lost their division lead.

The Mets and Braves have identical records (97-58) ahead of the Mets’ series finale against the Marlins and Atlanta’s series finale in Washington on Wednesday. The Braves, who won Tuesday, then are scheduled to host the Mets this weekend, though the timing and possibly the location of the series are up in the air because Hurricane Ian is expected to move through Georgia later in the week.

mlb, sports, carlos carrasco, miami marlins, new york mets, pete alonso, mets drop into nl east tie as carlos carrasco struggles in loss to marlins

Carlos Carrasco struggled in the Mets’ loss to the Marlins on Tuesday.

Paul J. Bereswill

Carlos Carrasco, who is battling with Taijuan Walker to be the No. 4 starter in the playoffs, entered Tuesday as the better pitcher this month. He proceeded to severely hurt his argument.

The 35-year-old allowed four runs in three innings — and probably was fortunate to limit the damage to four — while surrendering six hits and a walk and hitting a batter through 67 pitches.

He loaded the bases in both the first and the second innings, though he was only burned in the first. Bryan De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly scored a run and a wild pitch brought in a second run.

Carrasco escaped a second-inning, bases-juiced, no-out jam by inducing a 1-2-3 double play from Miguel Rojas before getting Brian Anderson to ground out.

mlb, sports, carlos carrasco, miami marlins, new york mets, pete alonso, mets drop into nl east tie as carlos carrasco struggles in loss to marlins

Miami Marlins relief pitcher Richard Bleier argues after he is called for three balks in the eighth inning against the New York Mets.

Corey Sipkin

But his brief good fortune evaporated in the third inning, when a flat, four-seam fastball — one of several of Carrasco’s pitches that lacked their usual velocity — to Garrett Cooper resulted in a two-run home run that tucked inside the right-field foul pole for a 4-0 deficit.

Pete Alonso tried to carry the Mets back into the game with a three-run homer to left field in the fourth inning, becoming the first Met in franchise history to record multiple 40-home run seasons. But Alonso — who increased his RBI count to 128, surpassing Aaron Judge (125) as the major league leader — could not do it all.

The Mets struggled the rest of the way against the Marlins’ staff. Pablo Lopez, an otherwise solid starter who had struggled against the Mets this season (11.34 ERA in four starts before Tuesday), was excellent through six innings, in which his only mistake came against Alonso.

The Mets did not record a hit until the fourth, which was just one of two innings in which they put a runner in scoring position.

The Mets scored in the eighth in a bizarre sequence in which Jeff McNeil singled and was balked all the way home. First-base umpire John Tumpane continually made the call against lefty Richard Bleier, and the balk resulted in an irate Marlins manager Don Mattingly being tossed after several minutes of pointing and shouting at the umpires.

Bleir got Alonso to ground out to end the inning, before the pitcher also was ejected after confronting the umpiring crew.

While the crowd enjoyed it, the Mets were too far buried to take advantage.

mlb, sports, carlos carrasco, miami marlins, new york mets, pete alonso, mets drop into nl east tie as carlos carrasco struggles in loss to marlins

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso reacts to the dugout as he runs up the baseline on his three-run home run during the fourth inning.

Paul J. Bereswill

The Marlins had padded their lead against Trevor Williams in the fifth inning, when they loaded the bases for Jacob Stallings, who lined a two-run single to right-center to make it 6-3.

From Carrasco to Williams to Tylor Megill — who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but walked two and lacked control — it was a tough night for Mets pitchers attempting to secure postseason roles.

Only David Peterson, who also was wild, but effective, through two scoreless innings, acquitted himself decently as he vies for a bullpen job.

The Mets will turn to Walker on Wednesday, which will represent a chance for the righty to grab hold of the No. 4 spot in the rotation — and for the Mets to try to grab back the No. 1 spot in the division.

But the Mets have learned they cannot rely upon the Braves to lose. If the Mets want to win the NL East, they likely will have to beat Atlanta themselves.

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