Matz fades, Mets' bullpen flops again in loss to White Sox
NEW YORK (AP) Even with Noah Syndergaard throwing 100 mph fastballs in a rare relief appearance, the New York Mets' bullpen folded once again.
Tyler Saladino hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and the Chicago White Sox rallied from an early four-run deficit, stopping a seven-game slide Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory over the Mets.
After leading the majors in ERA for some time, New York's bullpen has an 8.57 mark in its last 21 innings over seven games.
''We were certainly better than what we've done the last week. You can't walk guys, especially late in the game,'' manager Terry Collins said.
Neil Walker hit a two-run homer for the Mets, who led 4-0 after three innings. But rookie Steven Matz, trying to win his eighth consecutive start, suddenly faded in the sixth and gave up three quick runs.
Melky Cabrera drew a leadoff walk in the eighth from Hansel Robles (0-3). One out later, Saladino sent a 2-2 fastball to left field for his third home run, putting Chicago in front 5-4.
Robles has served up four home runs in his past two outings. Before that, he had given up one all season.
''I've paid the consequences for not locating,'' Robles said through an interpreter.
Brett Lawrie added an RBI single off Logan Verrett with two outs.
Collins used Syndergaard for a scoreless seventh inning. The young starter threw 17 pitches and consistently hit 100 mph on the radar gun in his first regular-season relief appearance. He struck out two batters and protected a one-run lead that Robles soon squandered.
It wasn't an entirely new experience for Syndergaard, who came out of the bullpen and worked a scoreless seventh inning to help the Mets win the decisive Game 5 of last year's playoff series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Syndergaard, scheduled to start Friday in Miami, threw only 34 pitches last Saturday before he was ejected in the third inning for firing a 99 mph fastball behind Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
''They've got a pretty good seventh-inning guy,'' Chicago manager Robin Ventura said with a smile. ''Just a nice bounce-back for us that we could score after that.''
Todd Frazier's two-run drive in the sixth was his 16th homer this season, and the White Sox got four innings of scoreless relief from their own beleaguered bullpen to win for just the fifth time in 20 games.
Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings (2-1), Nate Jones and David Robertson each worked a spotless inning after Chicago starter Mat Latos was charged with two earned runs and four hits.
Robertson struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson had sacrifice flies for New York. Each followed an error by Frazier at third base in the first two innings.
Saladino, who reached safely all four times up, walked with two outs in the sixth and stole second and third on consecutive pitches by a preoccupied Matz before scoring on Dioner Navarro's single.
''I didn't think he'd be too interested in me right there,'' said Saladino, who started at shortstop to give longtime Mets nemesis Jimmy Rollins a rest.
Matz yielded seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. His career-best 19-inning shutout streak ended when Frazier homered to snap a 1-for-24 skid.
''Threw one bad pitch and I paid for it. That's baseball sometimes,'' Matz said. ''Looking back at it, maybe I was rushing a little bit.''
Mets 3B David Wright missed his fourth straight game with a herniated disk in his neck. He was examined by doctors and given an injection that requires 48 hours to take effect, Collins said. If it doesn't help enough, Wright could be headed for the disabled list Friday when the Mets open a 10-game trip in Miami.
Walker has 13 homers after hitting 16 last year for Pittsburgh. The Mets have homered in 11 consecutive games and 15 of their last 16.
Chicago stole four bases in a game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2011, at Minnesota.
Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.81 ERA) pitches against RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.50) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.