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Mets unable to overcome errors, misplays in loss to Marlins

The Mets’ defense is becoming an issue and it cost them a chance at a win Tuesday night.

It was just two games ago -- the first of the Mets’ London Series with the Phillies -- when a defensive misplay opened the floodgates for the opposing team that eventually led to a loss. The same happened in the first of the Mets’ three-game series with the Marlins.

Starter Tylor Megill was rolling through the Miami lineup and holding onto a slim 2-1 lead before the fifth inning started.

A leadoff single by Tim Anderson and a one-out walk to Jazz Chisholm Jr. put runners at the corners for Bryan De La Cruz. The slugger launched a fly ball to left-center field when Brandon Nimmo and Harrison Bader converged on it. The center fielder slid but could not come up with the catch, allowing the tying run to score.

Megill got Josh Bell to fly out and then faced Jake Burger and was one out away from getting out of the inning.

"Was trying to pitch to weak contact, strikeouts," Megill said of the fifth inning after the game. "A lot of foul balls. They did a real number on my pitch count in that inning. Making a lot of good, quality pitches but a lot of foul balls. Trying to get balls put in play. Spun a slider that backed up Burger and the same thing to De La Cruz and that happened to be the big impact of that inning."

Burger hit a tough grounder to third baseman Mark Vientos, who dove and made a great stop, but his throw took Pete Alonso off the bag, allowing the go-ahead run to score -- a lead the Marlins would not relinquish.

"We got some good defenders there but it feels like when we have an error they make us pay," manager Carlos Mendoza said after the game. "I know it’s hard but when you give extra outs, extra bases, we haven’t been able to overcome those issues."

The Mets have 44 errors, the second most in the National League behind the Marlins’ 46.

And while Vientos has made strides this season as a defender, especially at third base, the youngster still has some work to d -- a fact Mendoza acknowledged despite his great diving attempt.

"It was a hell of a stop," Mendoza said. "Ball gets by him it’s two runs. He dove for it and probably rushed it a little bit, but the fact he dove for it and knocked it down."

Francisco Alvarez, returning to the team for the first time since his thumb injury in April, had an error of his own. His errant throw to try and catch a runner stealing second in the ninth inning eventually allowed Miami’s fourth run to score.

It was just Alvarez’s second error of the season, but after missing nearly two months, the young catcher will have to get back into the feel of being behind the plate on the major league level. 

Mendoza and the Mets are ready to play him multiple days in a row. But they’ll also be cautious.

"We have to be smart," Mendoza said of Alvarez. "He caught back-to-back in the minor leagues. We feel good with him back there tomorrow and it’ll be one day at a time. We have to be careful with him, building him back up."

While Alvarez builds back up and Vientos gets more comfortable defensively as the everyday third baseman, the Mets will need the progression to happen fast. At 28-37, the Mets can’t afford to give games away because of their defense, especially against bad teams. 

They can right the ship by winning their next two against Miami before they host the near-.500 San Diego Padres this weekend. We’ll see where the team, and their defense, is after Sunday.