In a tie ballgame, Joe Panik’s harmless pop fly to shallow left field with one out in the sixth inning proved to be anything but harmless to the Cleveland Indians thanks to the glove work (or lack thereof) of Oscar Mercado. Playing in left field as part of a Terry Francona-funded experiment, the Indians’ regular center fielder failed to secure the ball, letting it slip through his glove to leave Panik standing at second. Two batters later, Michael Conforto launched a hanging slider into the left field stands for a two-out, two-run, go-ahead homer.
The New York Mets proceeded to pour it on from there, clobbering an Indians squad that looked lackadaisical and out of sorts for much of the game in a forgettable 9-2 loss.
The Indians had a chance to respond in the top of the seventh, with runners at first and second and one out. But then Francisco Lindor came to the plate and swung at these three pitches:
Mercado sealed the wasted opportunity with a strikeout of his own.
But by of the end of the seventh inning, the Mets had rendered the Indians’ offensive futility inconsequential by blowing up Adam Cimber and Hunter Wood for four more runs, capped by a Pete Alonso two-run double. Shane Bieber had done his best to keep the Tribe in the game up to that point, but two big mistakes over six innings of work were his undoing. The first was a two-run homer to J.D. Davis in the second inning, followed by the aforementioned two-run shot to Conforto in the sixth. It was a tough luck game for the Indians starter.
Bieber’s counterpart fared much better, as the Tribe lineup failed to mount much of a challenge against Mets starter Steven Matz. Despite the fact that Matz is a southpaw, Jason Kipnis was somehow responsible for both of the runs the Indians were able to produce. The Tribe’s lone left-handed bat in the lineup launched a solo homer in the second inning and then delivered an RBI single in the fourth. Once Matz exited in the seventh, the Indians’ bats went quiet from there. Well, more quiet than they already where. Dead silent, essentially.
Not a good night for the Tribe.