NEW YORK -- The Mets entered Saturday's contest against the Braves with an 0-26 record when trailing after eight innings, and in the ninth inning had an opportunity to put a number in the win column.After Wilmer Flores led off the inning by reaching on an error by shortstop Erick
NEW YORK -- The Mets entered Saturday's contest against the Braves with an 0-26 record when trailing after eight innings, and in the ninth inning had an opportunity to put a number in the win column.
After Wilmer Flores led off the inning by reaching on an error by shortstop Erick Aybar, James Loney laced a 94-mph two-seam fastball from Jim Johnson into left-center. Third-base coach Tim Teufel waved Flores home, but Aybar's relay throw beat Flores to the plate and prevented the tying run from scoring, and the Mets fell, 4-3.
"We can't get him thrown out," manager Terry Collins said. "Not in that situation."
Prior to the game, the Mets were hitting .214 overall with runners in scoring position but had a .305 mark with a runner on third and fewer than two outs.
"Tim is real aggressive at third base and always has been," Collins said. "We haven't been scoring runs, and we've been leaving a lot of guys on third base. I'm sure that had something to do with [his decision]."
The next batter, Ty Kelly, hit a deep fly ball to center that likely would have plated Flores and tied the score at 4. Loney then advanced to third on a wild pitch and Alejandro De Aza was hit by a pitch, but Curtis Granderson struck out looking to end the game.
The baserunning error was the second costly mistake for the Mets on Saturday.
The Braves' Ender Inciarte doubled to lead off the eighth with the score tied at 3. After an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, Jeff Francoeur drilled a 94-mph fastball from Addison Reed for a liner to right field that Granderson was able to settle under.
After securing the catch, Granderson took a couple of hops and lobbed a throw into the infield, prompting Inciarte to race to third. Second baseman Neil Walker recovered well enough to force a close play, but Inciarte was safe.
"You have to give credit to [Inciarte] for making a heads-up play," Granderson said. "I got the ball in, and that's all I could do at that point. I possibly could have made a harder throw and that could have changed the situation, but you never know, he's a speedy guy and he might still tried to be aggressive in that situation."
Two batters later, Inciarte slid underneath the tag of a diving Rene Rivera after a wild pitch from Reed to score the go-ahead run.
"He had the guts to go there," Rivera said. "The ball was right behind home plate, and he made it there. Tip your hat to him. He was aggressive and he helped them win the ballgame."
The mistakes helped drop the Mets to 13-9 in one-run games; they have now lost five of their last seven.
"This is a tough one," Collins said. "You can't lose these kind of games. You got to win these games. When times are tough, these are big games."
Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.