CHICAGO — The Mets had intermittent stretches Wednesday night in which they resembled a major league baseball team.
But if you blinked, you missed them.
Mostly this was a freak show, the likes of which had to startle even the most hardened optimist who believes the Mets’ defensive deficiencies won’t be large enough this season to sink the boat.
Officially the Mets committed only four errors, but that didn’t include other obvious miscues that unofficially fit the category in a 16-4 beatdown by the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Mets lost a second straight game in which shoddy glovework contributed. A night after J.D. Davis committed two throwing errors, he returned to third base and booted a grounder that was a key play in the Cubs’ seven-run fourth inning, which essentially decided the game. Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and James McCann were also charged with errors.
Infielder Luis Guillorme was summoned to pitch the eighth inning for the Mets and allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk. The Mets will attempt to salvage a game in the series Thursday, when Joey Lucchesi starts for the second time this season.
Javier Baez put the exclamation on this night with a sixth-inning grand slam against Trevor Hildenberger, extending the Cubs’ lead to 14-4, but the Mets were sunk even before the inning started.
David Peterson never survived a disastrous fourth inning, in which the Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate and capitalized on three errors to score seven runs.
After Peterson surrendered three straight singles, the last of which was delivered by Anthony Rizzo and knocked in a run to pull the Cubs within 2-1, Baez hit a grounder to Davis that could have become an inning-ending double play. But Davis booted the ball for an error, his third in the last two games. Matt Duffy followed with a bases-loaded walk to tie the game before David Bote blooped a two-run single. Bote reached second when Conforto’s throw to the plate was wild (Peterson failed to back up the play).
Jake Marisnick’s RBI fielder’s choice brought in the Cubs’ fifth run of the inning. Eric Sogard delivered an RBI single and scored on Ian Happ’s grounder off Lindor’s glove and subsequent throwing error. The error was the Mets’ third in the inning.
Peterson allowed six runs, only three of them earned, on four hits and two walks over 3 ¹/₃ innings. Robert Gsellman entered in the fourth for the second straight night. He was removed in the fifth after Duffy’s grounder deflected off his leg for a two-run single. Before the inning was finished, the Cubs added another run on Bote’s RBI fielder’s choice that buried the Mets in a 10-4 hole.
The carnage in the fifth started when Lindor and Jeff McNeil were indecisive in fielding Willson Contreras’ grounder leading off the inning, which rolled between them for a double. Kris Bryant walked, and with one out, McCann was called for catcher’s interference when Baez’s swing clipped his mitt.
Pete Alonso had sliced the Mets’ deficit to 7-4 a half-inning earlier with a two-run blast onto Waveland Avenue behind the left-field bleachers for his team-leading third homer of the season.
Lindor’s first homer in a Mets uniform, a blast into the right-field bleachers against Zach Davies, gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the opening frame. Davis’ RBI double in the third extended that lead to 2-0.
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