QUEENS — Steve Cohen’s foreboding allusions still weren’t enough to spark his Mets.
Following the owner’s comments that suggested the team could sell at the trade deadline if things didn’t improve, the same overarching problems came back to bite New York in a 5-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night at Citi Field.
Going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, punctuated by a bases-loaded and no-out chance in the fourth inning in which they only came away with one run, silent Mets bats provided all the writing on the wall necessary for an inconsistent group of pitchers.
“We’ve had trouble putting all phases of the game together,” Mets manager Buck Showalter, who received a vote of confidence from Cohen earlier on Wednesday, said. “We had the bases loaded with nobody out and we force [Brewers starter Wade Miley] to push a run across, but we have to do a better job.”
Throwing on just four days rest for the second time this season, starter Kodai Senga allowed a pair of runs over five laborious innings in which he struck out eight. However, Grant Hartwig yielded what was the Brewers’ game-winning run before Adam Ottavino was tagged for another pair in the eighth inning following a controversial hit-by-pitch call that got Showalter ejected.
Ottavino went from having the bases empty with two outs to loading them following a Brian Anderson double, and a Blake Perkins walk before hitting Wiemer in the hand, though the Brewers’ center fielder appeared to swing as he was hit in the hand.
Catcher Francisco Alvarez and Showalter’s protests fell upon the deaf ears of home plate umpire Carlos Torres and crew chief Ron Kulpa — and tensions only rose when Christian Yelich drove in a pair to put Milwaukee up three.
Showalter proceeded to bound out of the dugout to give Kulpa, who was pumping first, a piece of his mind on the Wiemer decision, which ultimately led to his third ejection in the last month and second in the last four games. He was not ejected at all last season.
“[They said] he didn’t swing but he obviously did,” Showalter said. “I’m surprised two guys both missed it. Usually things like that you can overcome, but that wasn’t the only thing.”
The Mets (36-44) drop back down to eight games under .500 and a season-worst 17 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.
Senga was touched up for two runs in the first inning on a two-out Jesse Winker double after nearly working around a lead-off Yelich two-bagger.
“With the win yesterday and with us starting to potentially be on a groove and for me to give up two runs right there in the first inning, it really set the tone for us in a negative way,” Senga said. “That’s how the outing went.”
Trouble lurked in the third inning when the Brewers (42-38) loaded the bases with two outs, but he got Brian Anderson whiffing on a 97-mph fastball. The issue was that his pitch count was already up to 71.
“It’s good to see a competitive outing like that,” Showalter said. “I’d like to see him get deeper with that type of stuff.”
The Mets halved their early deficit in the second inning when the red-hot Tommy Pham launched a moonshot off Miley well into the left-field seats for his eighth home run of the season. After a slow start to his debut season in Queens, the veteran left fielder is batting over .300 with five home runs and 22 RBI in his last 30 games.
New York tied the game in the fourth inning when Francisco Alvarez drew a bases-loaded walk with no outs in the frame off a suddenly-erratic Miley, who walked all three of his batters on the night in the frame. While it provided an opportunity for the Mets to blow the doors off, they’d only come away with the one tally after Brett Baty struck out looking and Mark Canha grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Senga’s night was done by the fifth after throwing 102 pitches — and the struggling bullpen didn’t need much time to crack.
Hartwig allowed a lead-off double in the sixth to Owen Miller, who came around to score two batters later when Blake Perkins singled to left.