Mets implode in 10th, spoil Manaea’s debut gem in 5-0 loss to Tigers, drop to 0-4

Carson Kelly Mets Tigers
Detroit Tigers’ Carson Kelly hits a three-run home run during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Monday, April 1, 2024, in New York. The Tigers won 5-0. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS, N.Y. — Carson Kelly’s three-run home run with two outs in the 10th inning put the exclamation point on a five-run frame to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 5-0 victory while keeping the New York Mets winless in 2024.

The Tigers scored the game’s first run with one out in the 10th inning off reliever Michael Tonkin when, with runners on the corners, Mets second baseman Joey Wendle booted a Colt Keith grounder to allow Spencer Torkelson to score.

“It was a hard-hit ball so you’re thinking if we can turn two on it, you’re going to turn two,” Wendle said. “If not, you go home. I didn’t feel like the ball which was hit to my left, that I was going to be able to spin and throw home. I tried to turn a ball that wasn’t a two [bouncer] into a two ball, which I tried to secure a little too fast… I booted it. I’ve gotta get at least one out there. There’s no excuse and it cost us in a big way. 

One batter later, the bases were loaded when a grounder by Gio Urshela bounced off the glove of Tonkin and skittered away. Former Met Javier Baez brought in a second run with a sacrifice fly to center, setting up Kelly’s blast into the left-field seats to put the game away.

Due to Wendle’s error, none of the runs were earned on Tonkin’s ledger.

“He was trying to force a play when he didn’t have a play,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “He’s halfway there, ball to his glove side… he forced a play when he didn’t have to.

Mets pitching. led by a strong six-inning, one-hit outing by starting pitcher Sean Manaea, had allowed just two hits across the first nine innings as the bullpen put forth three scoreless innings — the combination of Jorge Lopez, Brooks Raley, and Edwin Diaz allowing just a single hit across the final three innings.

Manaea will have a hard time topping his first-ever start as a member of the Mets (0-4). The veteran lefty struck out eight compared to two walks across his six scoreless frames — a strong debut showing on the East Coast after spending eight seasons out west with the Athletics, Padres, and Giants.

“I was just throwing my stuff for strikes and getting ahead of guys,” Manaea said. “Knowing that stuff plays and… just realizing that.”

The 32-year-old was perfect through the first four innings before allowing a fifth-inning walk to Riley Greene. Andy Ibanez recorded the Tigers’ first hit with two outs in the sixth inning with a runner, Kelly, on second. But Brandon Nimmo kept the visitors off the board by throwing Kelly out at home when he tried to score from 180 feet away.

“I’d definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t [thinking about the no-hitter],” Manaea said. “I probably should’ve been thinking about some other stuff.”

Manaea’s fastball set the tone early as he recorded four of his first six strikeouts during those four perfect innings with it. Following the walk to Greene to lead off the fifth, he rebounded by getting Mark Canha to fly out, Jake Rodgers to strike out looking — his seventh of the night that also came via the fastball — and Gio Urshela to fly out to left to keep his no-hit bid intact.

“He had a lot of swing and misses on his fastball,” Mendoza said. “The cutter was good, the changeup was good… overall he had a really, really good outing.”

After getting Baez swinging on a sweeper to lead off the sixth, he walked Kelly, who advanced to second on a slow roller that third baseman Brett Baty got just enough on to throw Matt Vierling out at first for the second out.

Ibanez broke up the no-hitter with a clean single to left past the outstretched glove of Baty, but Nimmo preserved the scoreless tie when he threw Kelly out at the plate trying to score from second.

The Mets got their lead-off men on base in the seventh and eighth innings, but neither touched second base as a sputtering offense remained non-competitive. It continues the theme of an alarming start to the season as the offense was held to just five hits by Tigers starter Reese Olson and four relievers.

New York has been held to one run or fewer in three of its first four games this season.

“We just have to take it one day at a time,” Mendoza said. “We have to prepare, continue to go about our business the right way.”

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