MILWAUKEE -- A day after their own playoff hopes were extinguished, the Mets watched as the Brewers locked down the NL Central Division title by knocking off New York, 8-4, on Sunday afternoon at American Family Field.
"It hurts, just because of the way we played,” manager Luis Rojas said.
The way the Mets played in the series finale was not unlike the way they’ve played over the last two months, as they’ve tumbled from the top of the NL East to missing the postseason for a fifth straight season.
There was a rough opening inning by Carlos Carrasco, then a quick burst of offense that got the Mets back into the game, followed by a back-breaking string of late defensive lapses that ultimately sealed a fifth consecutive loss and New York’s 10th in its last 11 games.
The Mets got off to a promising start, as Francisco Lindor provided an early lead when he tagged Brewers right-hander Freddy Peralta for a solo home run with one out in the opening inning.
But the lead didn’t last. Carrasco walked Milwaukee’s leadoff batter, Kolten Wong, before leaving a 1-1 slider over the middle of the plate to Willy Adames, who connected for his 24th home run of the season and put the Mets behind, 2-1.
Those were the 17th and 18th first-inning runs allowed this season by Carrasco, who came into the game with a 14.40 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in the first inning over his previous 10 starts.
“I’ve been trying to be too cute in there,” said Carrasco, who allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts over four innings. “I’m trying to push the pitch that I want instead of actually throwing it, and that’s why I’m missing a bunch of spots.”
Back-to-back one-out walks of Wong and Adames set the stage for Milwaukee’s three-run second inning, but the Mets' offense clawed its way back into the game when Javier Báez drove in a pair with a double off Peralta in the fourth and Kevin Pillar made it a one-run game with an RBI single to left off Brent Suter in the top of the sixth.
The momentum stalled, though, in the bottom half when errors by Lindor and Jonathan Villar led to three more runs, handing Milwaukee’s bullpen a four-run lead.
"Cookie had his early struggles, but he was able to pitch a little better before coming out of the game,” Rojas said. "The walks and the errors hurt us today."
The errors gave the Mets three on the day and a whopping 26 in September.
“We’re just not finishing plays,” Rojas said. “We’ve made a lot of errors in August and September.”
Carrasco will make his last start of the season Friday when the Mets open a three-game series with the Braves in Atlanta. Acquired along with Lindor in a January trade with Cleveland, Carrasco, 34, still has one year remaining on his four-year, $47 million contract, but he’s not ready to think ahead just yet.
“The only thing I am thinking of is what we have to do right now,” Carrasco said. “I don't know what the future is going to be, so I'm just staying in the present.”