The Indians’ playoff push hit a snag in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the New York Mets.
Cleveland managed only five hits — all singles — and closer Chris Perez gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth as the Indians’ four-game winning streak came to an end.
The Indians trail Tampa Bay by two games in the battle for the second wild card spot in the American League. Cleveland was trying for its first five-game winning streak since a season-best eight-game run July 24-Aug. 1, but its offense was stopped cold by five Mets pitchers.
The Indians’ only run came in the sixth when Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Cabrera had a chance to put the Indians ahead in the eighth but bounced into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
The Indians had one last shot in the ninth. Jason Giambi led off the inning with a bloop single to left, his 2,000th career hit.
With one out, pinch-runner Mike Aviles was thrown out attempting to steal second and ejected by umpire Gary Darling for arguing the call. Drew Stubbs struck out to end the game.
“It’s something I’ll always treasure, but I’d trade it for a win,” Giambi said of his milestone hit. “We needed to come back and tie it there.”
The Indians open a three-game series tonight against Kansas City, another contender for a wild card spot.
“We took two of three in this series, you have to look at it that way,” said pitcher Joe Smith, who worked out a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth. “We come back on the horse tomorrow. We need to take care of business when they come in.”
While the Indians are in the playoff hunt, they haven’t caught on with Cleveland’s fans. With the Browns opening the NFL season at home against Miami, Sunday’s baseball game drew a crowd of only 13,317.
Eric Young’s two-out double in the ninth sent the Indians to defeat. Juan Lagares started the rally with a single off Perez (5-3) and moved to second on a sacrifice. Omar Quintanilla struck out, but Young lined a 2-0 pitch down the right field line.
Frank Francisco (1-0), in his first appearance of the season, threw the double play ball to Cabrera. LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Justin Turner hit a leadoff homer in the fourth off Indians starter Danny Salazar, the only run the rookie allowed in four innings. Salazar struck out eight in three innings, including five in a row, but a high pitch count prevented him from working deeper into the game. He was pulled after throwing 80 pitches.