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Pete Alonso, rain delay cool red-hot Cubs in loss to Mets

12 months agoAndy Martinez

A 2-hour, 9-minute rain delay might’ve given the Cubs a glimmer of hope that they could mount their fourth come-from-behind win in their last 5 games.

Instead, it forced them to turn their already fatigued bullpen — and the Mets’ bats quickly iced any hope of a rally.

Danny Mendick’s 3-run home run in the 7th inning after the rain had cleared sparked the Mets’ to an 11-2 win over the Cubs in the series opener at Citi Field. It’s only the fourth time since the All-Star Break that the Cubs have scored fewer than 3 runs in a game. They fall to 2.5 games behind in the NL Central and a game back in the NL Wild Card. 

The Mets carried the momentum they had going into the rain delay.

In the bottom of the 6th, as the rain began to steadily fall, Drew Smyly allowed a single to Jeff McNeil, then a grounder that he deflected that Dansby Swanson couldn’t field cleanly. Rafael Ortega followed with a bunt single to load the bases.

The next batter, Jonathan Araúz, drew a 5-pitch walk to plate a run. Cubs’ manager David Ross was forced to turn to Caleb Kilian who induced a double play that plated a run and a groundout to end the inning.

The Cubs were set to bat in the 7th inning when Mets starter Kodai Senga took the mound for his pre-inning warmup pitches. Amid a steady rain, he signaled to the umpire crew, letting them know it was muddy and slippery. The Citi Field grounds crew worked on the mound. Senga threw a few warmup pitches before Mets manager Buck Showalter pulled him from the game.

As Senga walked off the mound, the grounds crew pulled the tarp on the field.

After the delay, the Cubs stranded Nico Hoerner at first in the top of the 7th and the Mets took advantage of a beleaguered Cubs’ bullpen. After Kilian’s 5-pitch outing, the Cubs were hoping he could cover some length, instead the delay meant Ross had to turn to his reliever corps. Ross had three relievers — Adbert Alzolay, Mark Leiter Jr. and Michael Fulmer — who had pitched in the last two games and another two — Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski who had covered multiple innings over the weekend. So Ross was hoping Kilian could offer some relief.

Instead, he had to turn to Daniel Palencia, who struggled with command, walking two batters and then allowing the 3-run home run to Mendick that put the game out of reach.  

Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso helped spark the Mets to their lead they would not relinquish. The first baseman hit a 3-run home run off Cubs’ starter Drew Smyly in the 1st inning. He added a second home run in the 3rd, this one a 2-run shot.

It was a tough night for Smyly, allowing 7 earned runs on 8 hits with a pair of walks in 5-plus innings of work. He had 5 strikeouts. The lefty has allowed at least 4 earned runs in 6 of his last 8 starts.

The Cubs got on the board in the 3rd inning when Cody Bellinger delivered an RBI-single to score Nick Madrigal. Trailing 5-1 in the 5th, the Cubs started a two-out rally that was seemingly getting them back in the game.

Hoerner and Ian Happ had back-to-back singles. Bellinger hit a duck snort single to left field that scored Hoerner, but Ortega nabbed Happ at third as he came off the bag while trying to reach the base standing up, ending a potential rally for the Cubs.

Jameson Taillon will take the mound for the Cubs in the second game of the series on Tuesday.

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