NEW YORK (AP) — Kyle Schwarber entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and wound up homering and driving in four runs as the Chicago Cubs rallied against a beleaguered Mets bullpen to defeat New York 7-4 Friday night.
The Cubs trailed 2-0 in the seventh before posting their fifth win in six games.
The Mets, who started out 11-1 under new manager Mickey Callaway, dropped below .500 for the first time this season at 27-28. They have lost seven of nine, including four straight at home.
Playing in front of a large crowd on a comfortable night, Mets relievers once again failed to hold a lead and spoiled a solid outing from starter Zack Wheeler.
Addison Russell led off the Cubs seventh with a single. With a hit-and-run on, Tommy La Stella singled through the shift on the left side for his major league-leading 12th pinch hit, advancing Russell to third and chasing Wheeler.
Schwarber cut the Mets lead in half with a sacrifice fly off reliever Paul Sewald. Ben Zobrist followed with a tying double as a dejected Wheeler hung his head in the dugout. Zobrist reached base four times.
After Jason Heyward grounded out, Kris Bryant singled him home a run for a 3-2 lead.
Schwarber broke it open in the eighth against Sewald (0-4) with his 11th homer, hitting a three-run homer over the left-center field wall. Ian Happ added an RBI single in the ninth.
New York’s bullpen is 1-7 with an 8.42 ERA over its last nine games.
Randy Rosario (2-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Morrow worked the ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities.
Seeing regular playing time with star slugger Yoenis Cespedes on the disabled list, Brandon Nimmo broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with his seventh homer, a two-run shot off Tyler Chatwood.
The always-smiling, excitable outfielder sped around the bases so quickly that he almost caught up to lead runner Amed Rosario coming down the third base line. Nimmo has driven in a run in a career-best five straight games.
Throwing harder than he has so far this season, Wheeler’s fastball topped out at 99 mph. He allowed two runs on seven hits in six-plus innings, walking two and striking out four.
Adrian Gonzalez singled in two runs in the Mets eighth.
Mets: RF Jay Bruce was lifted in the fifth inning after experiencing lower back discomfort. ... Cespedes (strained right hip flexor) is getting closer to returning. “He feels great,” Callaway said. “I think that when he starts getting out there, where we can get him some reps at his actual position in practice, that things are going to go really fast.” ... LHP Steven Matz (mild finger strain) threw a bullpen and could make his scheduled start Sunday. ... Devin Mesoraco was in the starting lineup, catching and batting cleanup a night after getting clubbed in the mask by Javier Baez’s backswing.
Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-1, 4.35 ERA) pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings on Monday in Pittsburgh, his first start of the season after making 18 relief appearances.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (4-0, NL-leading 1.52 ERA) has allowed just two runs total over his last seven starts, a span of 40 1/3 innings in which he has fanned 55 batters. New York is 2-5 in those games despite deGrom’s dominance.