CHICAGO (AP) - After an impressive major league debut last week, New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler struggled in his second start Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Wheeler allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings and the Mets fell to the White Sox 5-4, when Alexei Ramirez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
The Mets tied it in the top of the ninth when the White Sox allowed an infield popup to drop with two outs and the tying run on. That cost Chicago starter Chris Sale a victory. The left-hander struck out 13 in eight innings.
Wheeler had one strikeout and allowed four hits and three walks.
``He got into a lot of deep counts,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ``We've got to try and eliminate that.'
A first-round draft pick by the Giants in 2009, Wheeler struck out seven in six shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves to win his debut June 18.
``You've got to like what you see,' Collins said. ``He's got a live arm. Fastball has got life to it. His curveball today was so much better than his last start. Now if he finds his slider to go with it he's got three pitches.'
Wheeler allowed his first major-league home run, a game-tying solo shot by Tyler Flowers in the third inning. The White Sox took the lead in the fifth against Wheeler, scoring on a groundout and a sacrifice fly.
``The curve ball was working good, so I threw that a good bit,' Wheeler said. ``The fastball wasn't there. I've got a lot of work to do.'
Ramirez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth after the Mets scored the tying run with two outs in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy hit a popup in front of the mound and third baseman Conor Gillaspie called for the ball before second baseman Gordon Beckham tried to make the catch as they nearly collided. The ball fell for an error by Beckham and David Wright scored after he had singled and stole second.
``Stupid play for me,' Beckham said. ``My heart was in the right spot, but mind obviously wasn't. It was loud. I screwed up. It is what it is. I'm glad we won. It didn't cost us the game, but it's a stupid play and I'm an idiot.'
Ramirez's winning hit came with runners on the corners. Jeff Keppinger singled and Beckham reached on a fielding error by reliever LaTroy Hawkins (2-1). Keppinger moved to third on a Flowers groundball.
``Not fielding that bunt probably hurt us a little bit,' Collins said about Hawkins' error.
Addison Reed (3-0) got the victory after blowing his third save.
Sale allowed three runs, four hits and two walks and remained winless in June. He fell one short of his season high for strikeouts and two shy of his career high, set on May 28, 2012, against Tampa.
Sale struck out the side in the fourth and sixth innings and fanned nine through the first four frames. He retired 10 straight batters after allowing an RBI single to Josh Satin in the first inning.
``He had a good change-up and slider going,' Mets catcher John Buck said. ``It's the first time we've all seen him. That added to it. He throws hard and has that good secondary stuff.'
The Mets scored two runs in the first inning. Eric Young Jr. led off with a double, stole third and scored on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly. Wright drew a walk, stole second and scored on a Satin single.
The White Sox pulled to within one in the bottom of the first. Alejandro De Aza led off with a single and eventually scored on a groundout.
Andrew Brown hit a go-ahead, leadoff homer on the first pitch from Sale in the fifth inning.
The White Sox scored two runs to take a 4-3 lead in the fifth. Beckham singled and later scored on a groundout. Flowers was hit by Wheeler and went on to score on a sac fly.
NOTES: The Mets optioned RHP Greg Burke to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Wheeler on the roster. ... The Mets traded OF Collin Cowgill o the Angels for minor leaguer Kyle Johnson. Cowgill batted .180 in 23 games for New York. ... The game was briefly delayed in the top of the first inning when a power surge knocked out some lights as storms approached.
The Associated Press News Service
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