Henderson Alvarez was putting so much effort into throwing his sinker, it refused to sink. The result? An ugly outing for the young Blue Jays right-hander, matching the shortest start of his career.
Alvarez equaled a career-high by allowing six earned runs and the New York Mets beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on Sunday.
Alvarez (3-4) lost his second straight start and gave up as many runs as he had in his previous five outings combined. He allowed nine hits in a season-low five innings, walked two and struck out three.
"He was so strong coming out of the bullpen that he was almost throwing through his sink," Blue Jays manager John Farrell explained. "Some fastballs straightened out, they got up in the zone."
Jose Bautista homered for Toronto, his 11th, but the Blue Jays failed to extend their season-high four-game winning streak.
New York third baseman David Wright, who missed Saturday's game due to illness, returned to the lineup and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a walk, raising his majors-leading average to .412. Wright also struck out twice, once with the bases loaded.
The Mets had lost four of five coming in but avoided a sweep by improving to 12-6 in day games.
Mets right-hander Dillon Gee (3-3) won for the first time in four starts, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked four and struck out six.
New York opened the scoring with three runs in the first. Andres Torres walked, Baxter doubled and Wright followed with a two-run double to center. Two outs later, Wright scored when center fielder Colby Rasmus couldn't hold on to Kirk Nieuwenhuis' bloop double, with the ball dropping out of his glove after a sliding catch. Manager John Farrell came out to argue with umpire Mark Wegner, but the call stood.
"In the first inning I was overthrowing a bit," Alvarez said through an interpreter. "Everything got a little complicated."
The Mets added one more in the second when Ronny Cedeno led off with a single and scored on Baxter's two-out triple to right.
Toronto answered in the bottom half on an RBI single by Yan Gomes, and cut it to 4-2 on Bautista's leadoff drive to left in the third.
New York pushed its lead back to four and chased Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez with a two-run fifth. Daniel Murphy grounded an RBI single to center and Ike Davis drove in a run with a fielder's choice.
Bautista chased Gee with an RBI single in the seventh and Toronto closed to within 6-5 by scoring twice off Parnell in the eighth. Arencibia and Thames hit consecutive doubles and Colby Rasmus snapped a 0-for-20 slump with an RBI single.
"It felt great, just hated that we couldn't win," Rasmus said.
Former Blue Jays closer Frank Francisco finished in the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Escobar walked to begin the ninth and moved to second on Bautista's single, but Francisco ended it by striking out Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Eric Thames.
"When Jose got the hit I said 'Oh boy, let's see what happens here,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said. "(Francisco) reached back for a little extra."
Francisco, who blew four saves while with Toronto last season, was booed when he took the mound. Asked afterward about the reason for his hostile reception, he explained it with a humorous reply.
"They love me and I left," Francisco said.
NOTES: Wright's first-inning single was the 1,301st career hit, moving him past Jose Reyes into sole possession of second place on New York's all-time list.The Mets placed RHP Miguel Batista (back) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Chris Schwinden from Triple-A Buffalo. ... Rasmus returned to the lineup after failing to start the past two games. ... Bautista started at DH Sunday, with Ben Francisco starting in RF. Francisco was replaced by Rajai Davis in the sixth after complaining of a tight left hamstring. ... Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion fell into the camera bay next to the visitor's dugout while catching a foul pop up by Cedeno for the final out of the fifth. ... The crowd of 41,867 was Toronto's biggest since an opening day sellout.