BALTIMORE — Nothing quite says meaningful September baseball like Ariel Jurado and Franklyn Kilome on the mound trying to halt a Mets losing streak.
One a scrap-heap pickup and the other a largely untested rookie, the Mets received a dose of beatdown Tuesday night at Camden Yards in losing their fifth straight, 9-5 to the Orioles.
“We’re in a tough stretch right now and we’ve got to stay motivated, positive,” manager Luis Rojas said.
A Mets team that was ecstatic after sweeping the Yankees in a doubleheader Friday suddenly can’t get enough outs, whether it’s the starting rotation or bullpen inflicting the damage.
On this night it was a combination of both, with Jurado pounded over four innings before Kilome entered and surrendered two homers that sullied an earlier comeback.
If there was a silver lining, the Mets got to rest overused relievers Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson and Brad Brach. Another fresh arm, Miguel Castro — who was acquired in a Monday exchange with the Orioles — is expected to join the team Wednesday, along with Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos, who also arrived in trades.
Kilome let this one escape in the sixth, surrendering three runs, which included a two-run blast by Anthony Santander that gave the Orioles an 8-5 lead. An inning later Renato Nunez homered against the rookie.
Andres Gimenez’s first major league homer, a two-run blast in the sixth, had tied it 5-5 after Jurado slogged through four innings in his first start for the Mets. The extra arm was needed after the Mets played two doubleheaders over the weekend against the Yankees, depleting the rotation.
“A lot of guys have been used,” Rojas said. “And the two guys that we had today, one after the other, we trusted them in giving us length and to get away from some of those arms we used in the last couple of days. They didn’t fully give us what we were expecting and they didn’t do a good job.”
Jurado, who arrived last month in a trade with the Rangers for a player to be named later, lasted four innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits with two strikeouts, departing after 84 pitches.
“I was just really trying to battle the entire way through,” Jurado said. “I feel like I did near the end and the last two innings were better for me than the other ones.”
The Orioles scored all five of their runs against Jurado in the first two innings before the right-hander worked a perfect third and escaped trouble in the fourth, leaving two runners on base.
Robinson Cano homered for the third straight day, clearing the right-field fence in the third, pulling the Mets within 5-3 with the solo blast. The homer was Cano’s seventh overall, moving him ahead of Pete Alonso for the team lead. Cano is batting .380 — albeit with not enough plate appearances to place him in the NL lead.
Jurado surrendered two runs on three hits in the second inning in falling into a 5-2 hole. Santander and Jose Iglesias each had an RBI in the inning after Pat Valaika and Andrew Valazquez singled in succession leading off the frame.
Luis Guillorme’s RBI single earlier in the inning against Asher Wojciechowski had sliced the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Cano’s bloop single to right and Jeff McNeil’s third double in two games gave the Mets runners on second and third with nobody out before Alonso brought in a run with a sacrifice fly and Guillorme followed with his run-scoring single.
Before the game, McNeil credited a conversation he had with former minor league teammate Patrick Mazeika for helping him recognize changes that were needed in his stance that would allow him to drive the ball better. McNeil, an avid golfer, compared it to his golf swing.
“They are very similar with my upper body and kind of leaning over the plate, so we got back to that and it felt really good,” McNeil said.
The loudest hit of the night surrendered by Jurado was Renato Nunez’s three-run homer in the first. Cedric Mullins had bunted for a single and Iglesias doubled him to third before Nunez pounded a 1-2 fastball over the center-field fence.
Gimenez insisted it’s not time for the Mets to panic.
“I think we should come in relaxed and trust that we have a good team here,” he said.