Loss Robs Mets of Mo-Mentum

One disconcerting thing about this Mets team is the fact that they have only swept one series during the first two months of the season. Mental lapses by Shawn Estes and four errors by the Mets ensured that the number of sweeps would remain at one as they lost 8-3 to the Indians in the third game of their three game series.

It was another fielding miscue by Roger Cedeno that allowed the Indians to score their first run of the game. In the third inning, Estes issued a one-out walk to Matt Lawton and then saw Omar Vizquel's subsequent single get by Cedeno, rolling all the way to the outfield wall, allowing Lawton to score easily.

Estes completely lost it in the fourth inning, giving up five runs in the inning. He immediately fell into trouble, giving up an infield single to Milton Bradley, and saw him steal second. He then walked Ricky Gutierrez and got one out when Chad Allen sacrificed bunted Bradley and Gutierrez over to second and third respectively. Bobby Valentine elected to intentionally walk Einar Diaz. That strategy backfired when John McDonald then singled, scoring Bradley to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. The lead increased to 3-0 when Estes walked Lawton, forcing in Gutierrez. Vizquel kept up his R.B.I. binge when he singled and drove in both Diaz and McDonald to make it 5-0. Ellis Burks made it 6-0 when he hit a fielder's choice ground ball that scored Diaz.

The Mets got back into the game in the sixth when Cedeño walked and then Edgardo Alfonzo singled. Roberto Alomar singled as well to drive in Cedeno. Piazza, looking like he may be emerging from his slump, singled and Alfonzo scored. Indians manager Charlie Manuel, perhaps fearing a meltdown like Saturday night, came out and brought in lefthander Ricardo Rincon, who struck out Mo Vaughn to end the threat.

Fundamentals seemed to completely abandon the Mets in the seventh inning. Jim Thome led off the inning with a single that was within diving distance for Mo Vaughn, who didn't dive. Then Mo compounded it by making a mental error on Bradley's ground ball to him. He turned to second to try to force Thome and decided too late that he couldn't catch him and by the time he turned to throw to Satoru Komiyama, who had come in to pitch in the beginning of the inning, at first, it was too late. As if the baseball gods weren't through with Vaughn, Allen hit a ground ball to him that should have been caught, but it wound up handcuffing him for his second consecutive error in as many chances. Thome scored on the error and Bradley moved to third. It wasn't over. Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to center. Bradley tagged up to try to score. Timo Perez settled under the fly ball, caught it and then threw the ball towards home plate. Problem was, that the ball wound up being closer to the first base side as it was home plate, and it wound up in the Mets dugout. Bradley scored easily to make it 8-2.

The Mets had a chance to get right back into the game in the eighth. Perez atoned for his throwing miscue by hitting a solo home run, and then Alfonzo and Alomar had back-to-back singles. That brought up Piazza, who had two singles on the day. Manuel came out and he brought in Paul Shuey, whom Piazza had homered off of the previous night. Shuey got the upper hand this time as he got Piazza to bounce into an inning-ending double play. 8-3 Indians.

Bob Wickman, the Indians closer, came into the game in the ninth, and apart from giving up two singles, shut down the Mets to end the game.

Notes


-Estes received the loss to fall to 2-5, while Indians rookie pitcher Ryan Drese improved to 6-4
-Alomar was the high man for the Mets with three hits and Piazza had two hits
-The Indians had one steal off of Piazza
-The Mets go to Chicago, where Pedro Astacio (6-2, 2.84 E.R.A.) will pitch against Gary Glover (2-1, 4.71 E.R.A.)

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