Cubs lose to Mets 4-2 as errors add up, offense slows

Chicago Cubs first baseman Patrick Wisdom attempts to catch the ball as New York Mets’ J.D. Martinez reaches first on a throwing error by shortstop Dansby Swanson during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in New York.

Julia Nikhinson/AP Photos

NEW YORK — It was obvious off the bat that the Mets’ DJ Stewart had just put his team ahead with a three-run home run against Cubs reliever Adbert Alzolay in the sixth inning Tuesday. The ball landed in the upper deck in right field at Citi Field.

It was also clear the inning already should have been over with the score still tied. In the Cubs’ 4-2 loss to the Mets, all three runs that scored on Stewart’s homer — and proved to be the difference in the game — were unearned.

‘‘We didn’t play good-enough defense,’’ manager Craig Counsell said. ‘‘We gave them a run in the first, and the error contributed to the sixth inning, as well. So we got burned by not capitalizing on some outs tonight.’’

The Cubs, still without injured outfielders Cody Bellinger and Seiya Suzuki in their lineup, have scored a combined five runs in the first two games of their series in Queens.

‘‘There’s not going to be any formula,’’ Counsell said Monday of weathering those injuries on offense. ‘‘You go out every night and you compete.’’

That worked Monday, as the Cubs scratched out a 3-1 victory with a late push. On Tuesday, however, the Mets exploited a sixth-inning mistake.

The Cubs struggled to get much going on offense. They scored a run in the second by getting a runner to third on a pair of walks and a single before Miguel Amaya hit a sacrifice fly.

They didn’t present much of a scoring threat again until the ninth, when they tacked on one more run with a double by Mike Tauchman and back-to-back groundouts to move him around the bases.

‘‘Not a lot of pressure, for sure,’’ Counsell said of the Cubs’ recent offensive output. ‘‘Just not enough rallies, and it’s led to some quiet nights.’’

Cubs starter Javier Assad held the Mets at bay for the most part — they scored one run in the first, aided by first baseman Patrick Wisdom’s throwing error after a pickoff attempt — for five innings.

‘‘It was a tight game,’’ Assad said through an interpreter. ‘‘And I just tried to keep the game close.’’

Then Alzolay came in to face the heart of the Mets’ order in the sixth. He got Pete Alonso, who led off the inning, to pop up for the first out.

He then induced J.D. Martinez to hit a grounder to shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has won Gold Gloves in each of the last two seasons. Swanson fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw tailed off before it reached first, and Wisdom couldn’t pick up the in-between hop.

‘‘It’s a play that Dansby makes, and it’s a play he’s got to make,’’ Counsell said. ‘‘And he just didn’t make it.’’

The next batter, Jeff McNeil, hit a shallow fly ball to left fielder Ian Happ, who made a sliding catch to secure the second out — or what should have been the third out.

Tyrone Taylor then hit a single through the gap on the left side of the infield before Alzolay left a cutter over the heart of the plate to Stewart.

The Cubs have been snakebitten by injuries in the first month of the season and have played a tough schedule. They still got out of April with an 18-12 record, but when the offense dips — as it’s bound to do at several intervals throughout the season — they have to tighten up other aspects of their game.

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