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Francisco Alvarez hits 6th homer of the season, Kodai Senga throws career-high 106 pitches in 4-2 loss

CHICAGO — Francisco Alvarez did all he could to will his club to a victory Wednesday night at Wrigley Field going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer off former Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman. But the Mets’ bats were as cold as the nearly 20 MPH winds blowing in from Lake Michigan and the offense produced little else in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

The Mets, who came into the Windy City riding a five-game winning streak, dropped the series with their second straight loss.

Alvarez’s home run came in the top of the third. The biting winds that blew in from right field made life difficult for right-handed hitters, but Alvarez drove the ball right through the thick, icy air sending it back 390 feet for his sixth home run of the season.

“I know his two-seam sinker doesn’t really go side-to-side, it drops a little more,” the catcher said. “So I was just trying to get out and be level with it and I kind of had to uppercut it.”

The wind didn’t seem to affect Alvarez.

“I think both teams had to hit into the wind a little bit. That’s what’s so impressive about Francisco’s home run,” said manager Buck Showalter. That one didn’t have time to get much wind involved.”

Alvarez put the Mets up 2-0 but the lead wouldn’t last long.

The Cubs (22-26) took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the frame.

Kodai Senga has been inconsistent from start to start, but the majority of his struggles have been the result of a high walk rate. The Mets have yet to solve the rookie right-hander’s control issues. His stuff is good, but locating it has been the biggest problem for him in his first season in North America.

Senga (4-3) walked five hitters Wednesday night. He minimized the damage but the walks helped maximize his pitch count.

“Ever since coming over here, since starting to pitch in the big leagues, I look at the data a little bit more,” Senga said through a translator. I have pinpoint spots I want to throw it and in past outings, I would be just a bit off or just barely in the strike zone. But today I was very clearly out of the strike zone. Very clear balls, very clear walks.

“I would definitely like to minimize those types of walks.”

Senga (4-3) masterfully got out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings to rebound from that three-run third.

Down 3-2 in the fourth, Senga walked the No. 8 and 9 hitters to lead off. There were PitchCom issues that prompted Francisco Lindor to come to the mound and signal his translator, Hiro Fujiwara. Senga appeared rattled and took a step off the mound, getting called for a balk to advance the runners. The Mets got Tommy Hunter in the bullpen.

Showalter came out to talk to the umpires, clearly agitated, but Senga settled down from there. He struck out Nico Hoerner, got Miles Mastrobuoni to pop up to shallow center field and Dansby Swanson grounded out to end the inning.

Senga had two on with two out in the fifth after Brett Baty deflected Christopher Morel’s line drive, but he struck out Matt Mervis to end the inning and end his night at three runs on six hits.

The right-hander threw a career-high 106 pitches, stranded eight runners and struck out six over five innings.

“I’d just like to see him be able to manage his pitches a little more because his stuff is good enough to get deeper into games,” Showalter said.

Drew Smith gave up a home run to Hoerner in the sixth to make it 4-2. Smith has now allowed runs in three straight appearances (four runs, three earned) after allowing only two baserunners in his previous five.

Stroman (4-4) limited the Mets to two earned runs on four hits, walked one and struck out three over eight innings.

“It was two different types of pitchers tonight but in a lot of ways they had similar effectiveness,” Showalter said. “One of them went eight and that’s what Kodai is capable of doing if he manages his pitches a little bit better. Not a lot of quick outs compared to what Stroman was able to do.”

The Mets threatened in the eighth with runners on the corners, but the Long Island native got Alvarez to ground into an inning-ending double play. Mark Leiter Jr. converted the save (two) by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

“Obviously, I wanted a hit there in that big spot,” Alvarez said. “But I just wanted to help the team there in that moment.”

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Source: Berkshire mont

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