Mets misery continues, Mitch Keller tosses Pirates to 2-1 rubber-game win

Mitch Keller Mets Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Pittsburgh, Sunday, June 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

With the tying run on second after Tomy Pham’s one-out double, Mark Canha flew out to center in the top of the ninth, relegating the Mets to a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon and yet another series defeat. 

After sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies last week at Citi Field to improve to 30-27 on the season, the Mets (31-35) have lost eight of their last nine games to continue a miserable June swoon.

The day will forever be remembered in Pittsburgh, though, as the afternoon in which veteran Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen collected his 2,000th career hit — becoming the 291st player in league history to reach that benchmark when he led the game off with a single off Carlos Carrasco.

Andrew McCutchen Pirates Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen (22) stands on first base after hitting a single off New York Mets starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, left, for his 2000th major league hit during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, June 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Carrasco once again failed to provide a deep start for a Mets team struggling to find any sort of consistency from the starting rotation. Allowing two runs on six hits, he lasted just 4.2 innings with three walks and one strikeout.

Of his eight starts this season, six have failed to go over five innings.

He had little room for error on Sunday, though, as Pirates starter Mitch Keller mowed the Mets down in seven innings of work, allowing just one run on two hits with seven strikeouts.

His lone mistake of the afternoon came against Jeff McNeil, who put the Mets ahead in the fourth inning when he golfed his third home run of the season into the right-field bleachers. The New York second baseman was able to get around on a 95-mph sinker to break a homer-less drought that dated back to May 1. It was also just the third extra-base hit from McNeil in his last 40 games. 

But the slim lead for Carrasco lasted all but three pitches as Jack Suwinski led off the bottom of the fourth with a towering shot down the right-field line to draw the Pirates even. 

Jack Suwinski PIrates Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jack Suwinski (65) rounds third to greetings from third base coach Mike Rabelo after hitting a solo home run off New York Mets starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, June 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Following a Ji Hwan Bae one-out double and a wild pitch that moved him to third, Pittsburgh took the lead when Tucupita Marcano lined a single to right.

Carrasco ran into trouble again in the fifth, putting runners on second and third with two outs before Buck Showalter yanked him for reliever Josh Walker, who struck out the red-hot Suwinski fanning to get the Mets out of the jam. 

Meanwhile, Keller re-stabilized after allowing McNeil’s blast, retiring 10 straight between the end of the fourth inning through the seventh. 

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