A solid performance from designated hitter Travis Blankenhorn and the Mets bullpen wasn’t enough as Syracuse dropped their tenth straight contest, falling to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 4-2, on Thursday night at PNC Field.
The RailRiders (26-11) got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning. Hoy Park flared a one out single into right field. Socrates Brito followed and hit a two-run homer off Mets starter Corey Oswalt to give Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Oswalt struck out the first two batters before surrendering a solo home run to Kellin Deglan, and the RailRiders increased their lead to 3-0.
Oswalt’s evening came to an end after three and one-third innings pitched. The 27-year-old allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five batters.
The Mets (11-28) got on the board in the top of the fourth. Blankenhorn led off the inning with a double, his third extra-base hit in as many games with Syracuse. The former Minnesota Twin finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored. After Orlando Calixte grounded out and Khalil Lee went down on strikes, Cheslor Cuthbert launched a two-out, two-run home run to bring Syracuse within one, 3-2. It was Cuthbert’s fifth home run of the season and his third with the Mets.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre responded in the fifth. Park led off the frame with a walk. Next, Brito connected with his second hit of the day on a single to center field. Derek Dietrich then grounded into a fielder’s choice which got Park to third base. Armando Alvarez followed with a groundout into a fielder’s choice, but Park scored to give the RailRiders their two-run lead right back, 4-2.
In the seventh, the RailRiders missed an opportunity to put the game away. With the score still 4-2 in favor of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Tom Windle came out of the bullpen for the Mets with runners at first and second and no outs. The righty issued a walk to Brito to load the bases. Dietrich then popped out for the first out. Knowing a double play would get him out of the massive jam, Windle delivered, getting Alvarez to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning with no damage done.
The bullpen tonight for Syracuse was a bright spot. Between Stephen Nogosek, Marcel Rentería, and Windle, the Mets pen delivered four and two-thirds innings of one-run baseball, allowing only one hit and striking out five.
The Mets were still down by two going to the ninth. Luis García came in trying to close it out for the RailRiders and delivered, recording his league-leading 11th save of the year as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre won, 4-2.
The Mets and RailRiders return to PNC Field Friday night for game four of the six-game series. First pitch from Moosic, PA is at 7:05 p.m.