The New York Mets nearly staged a come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Royals in their first game without David Wright.
The second contest without their superstar could prove much more challenging as they try to produce runs against Ervin Santana, who has been dominant since the All-Star break.
New York will try to bounce back against Santana and Kansas City on Sunday as the club seeks just its second series victory at Citi Field since June.
The Mets (49-59) placed Wright on the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game after the All-Star suffered a strained right hamstring running out an infield hit in a 4-2 win on Friday. New York gave no timetable for the return of Wright, who was hitting .309 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs while playing all but two of the team’s first 107 games.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I kind of came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to play today and probably not the next day. I will hopefully get this thing healthy as quickly as I can and get back on the field.”
New York lost 4-3 in 12 innings Saturday, rallying from a 3-1 deficit on Josh Satin’s two-run single in the eighth before Justin Maxwell led off the 12th with his fifth career pinch-hit home run to lift Kansas City (55-52) to its 10th victory in 11 games.
Maxwell is 3 for 5 in three games since being acquired from Houston on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Justin Turner was 1 for 4 filling in for Wright at third base, and Satin - occupying Wright’s typical third spot in the order - went 2 for 5. Manager Terry Collins didn’t necessarily specify a permanent plan without Wright moving forward, though.
“We may have to make some lineup adjustments if it’s going to be a long-term thing,” Collins said. ”If it’s going to be two weeks, maybe we can just buy some time with some other guys.”
New York could certainly have used Wright’s pop against Santana (7-6, 3.03 ERA). The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in three starts since the Midsummer Classic.
He limited the Twins to two runs and four hits over seven innings of a 7-2 road win on Tuesday, retiring the final 10 batters he faced, including five via strikeout.
“Any time he goes out on the mound, you know he’s going to deal,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “You know he’s going to hold them under two runs and we just gotta go score a couple for him.”
The Royals’ offense could be in for a challenge as well against Mets rookie Zach Wheeler (4-1, 3.55), who is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA over his last five outings.
Wheeler carried a no-hitter into the seventh of a 4-2 win at Miami on Tuesday and allowed two runs and three hits overall. He didn’t allow a homer after giving up seven in his previous six starts.
“That might have been as dominant of a performance through six innings that I’ve seen all year from anybody,” Collins said.
Miguel Tejada is 11 for 26 during a seven-game hitting streak after going 3 for 4 on Saturday.
Marlon Byrd and John Buck - the only Mets with more than one at-bat against Santana - are a combined 6 for 39 (.154) with 12 strikeouts against him.