Mets waste Niese’s gem, lose to Brewers 5-1 in 13

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NEW YORK (AP) - By the end of his team’s latest deflating loss, Carlos Torres was punching himself in the head.

Hard.

It’s been that kind of month for the New York Mets and their anemic offense.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a tiebreaking homer off Torres in a four-run 13th inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers outlasted the Mets 5-1 on Thursday night after an unusual rain delay that lasted all of 3 minutes.

“We had our opportunities,” struggling Mets star David Wright said. “We have to do a better job.”

The slumping Mets stranded seven runners from the ninth through the 11th and blew a bases-loaded opportunity with a chance to win. They lost for the eighth time in nine games and fell a season-worst eight games under .500 at 29-37.

Minus ailing cleanup hitter Curtis Granderson, the Mets wasted another strong outing by Jonathon Niese and went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. They are batting .169 in those situations over the past 22 games.

And to make matters worse, closer Jenrry Mejia left the game with a stiff back.

Mejia said he told bullpen coach Ricky Bones about the tightness he felt before entering the game. The right-hander got two outs in the 10th and went back out for the 11th, but his back flared up as he was throwing warmup pitches.

“I wanted to go out there. That’s what I told him: ‘I want to go out there and pitch,’” Mejia said. “A little bit of pain. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow. I hope I feel better.”

Moments after Mejia came out, a sudden downpour halted play. Fans scurried for cover as umpires consulted the grounds crew - and the radar on a smartphone - near third base.

Players stayed in the dugout waiting for word and when the rain lightened to a drizzle, the game quickly resumed.

“That was weird. I thought they were going to pull the tarp and bang it and have like a one-inning playoff next time when they come to our place,” Lucroy said with a laugh. “Crazy night. Glad we could win and get out of here on a good note.”

Aramis Ramirez homered in the second inning and finished with three hits, helping the NL Central leaders take two of three in the series. Milwaukee (40-27) matched its season high at 13 games above .500.

New York took advantage of an error by Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez to tie it in the fourth before Niese and Kyle Lohse settled into a crisp pitchers’ duel.

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