Tough one for ‘pen after Arias’ clutch homer

4:51 AM UTC

NEW YORK — Entering Friday night’s action at Citi Field, the bullpen was the strength of the Guardians, but it blew a five-run lead in an eventual 10-9 loss to the Mets in 10 innings.

It was Cleveland’s fifth walk-off loss this season.

Guardians relievers had combined for a respectable 3.10 ERA entering the series opener, but they allowed six earned runs in four innings. The worst of it came in the 10th inning. Cleveland grabbed a 9-7 lead, thanks to a two-run homer by Gabriel Arias in the top of the inning, but All-Star Emmanuel Clase couldn’t close it out.

With automatic runner Brett Baty on third, Mark Vientos singled up the middle, scoring Baty and making it a one-run game. Two batters later, Francisco ?lvarez singled to left on an 0-2 pitch, scoring pinch-runner Eduardo Escobar to tie the score at 9.

Two batters later, Francisco Lindor singled on the first pitch to right-center field to bring home ?lvarez and end the game.

Obviously, Guardians manager Terry Francona wasn’t happy with what he saw from his bullpen. It was a tough game to watch.

“Clase didn’t locate with two strikes. … He didn’t throw it where he wanted to,” Francona said.

It looked like the Guardians were going to get a well-pitched game from right-hander Cal Quantrill, who was outstanding during the first four innings, allowing just one hit. It also helped that he was given a 5-0 lead after four-plus innings.

But after Quantrill was hit in the right thigh by a ball off the bat of Mark Canha, who was thrown out on the play, the right-hander lost his edge on the mound.

?lvarez hit a solo homer and Lindor came home on a single by Jeff McNeil.

Quantrill left the game in the sixth inning after allowing a home run to Baty and a single to Canha. Sam Hentges was brought in and he was able to get the final out of the inning without further damage.

But Hentges stayed in the dugout too long in the top of the seventh inning, when the Guardians scored two runs on Josh Naylor’s single to give Cleveland a 7-3 lead. By the time Hentges went back to the mound, he had a tough time throwing strikes.

Hentges walked two batters and allowed a single to McNeil before he left the game. Hentges did not use an excuse for why he didn’t have it on Friday night. He had problems throwing his sinker for strikes.

“It’s part of the game. It’s usually a good thing if it’s a long inning. That means we scored a couple of runs,” he said. “It’s not an excuse for what happened tonight. … It was mostly the sinker. I kept throwing it down.

“I really didn’t make that in-game adjustment that I needed. I just wasn’t really attacking hitters as usual.”

In came right-hander James Karinchak to face Pete Alonso and the results were not good for Karinchak, who fell behind, 3-1, and yielded a grand slam to tie the score at 7.

It was the sixth home run Karinchak allowed this season. Last year, he allowed two runs in 36 games.

“Honestly, I’m just putting together the best at-bats I can and just trying to be on time and in rhythm, and that’s it,” Alonso said. “Just trying to capitalize on pitches over the heart of the plate and just hit it hard. I’m happy that they’re going over the wall and helping us win.”

Said Karinchak, “Like any other hitter, I was trying to execute a pitch. I fell behind and he put a pretty good swing on it.

It was simply a rough night for the bullpen. The Mets put good swings on the ball.

“It is what it is and focus on tomorrow,” Karinchak said.