Once the Kansas City Royals rallied to tie the New York Mets in the ninth inning, it seemed inevitable that their bullpen would be able to stretch the club's winning streak to 10 games.
It just didn't work out that way.
Light-hitting outfielder Eric Young Jr. hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 11th inning off Luis Mendoza — Kansas City's fourth reliever after starter Wade Davis — and the Royals fell short of their longest winning streak since 1994 by losing 4-2 to the Mets on Friday night.
"We still have a lot of year left so obviously it would have been nice to get 10 in a row," outfielder Alex Gordon said. "We had a lot of chances to do it, but give both sides' pitching staffs credit. Both teams had a lot of opportunities on offense to end the game, and the pitching just stepped up."
The Royals fell into a 2-0 hole in the first inning when David Wright homered off Davis. But that was all the Mets could muster until Young ended the 4 hour, 7 minute marathon with his second homer of the season.
Kansas City, which matched the team's fifth-longest winning streak, was trying for the club's first 10-game run since it won 14 straight 19 years ago.
"It never feels good after you lose a game, but yeah, it was a nice streak," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Now let's see if we can start another one."
Yost was forced to use Mendoza in the 11th because he was his last available reliever. Tim Collins was away from the team to visit his gravely ill grandfather, Yost said. Luke Hochevar couldn't go after throwing two innings Thursday.
Mendoza (2-6) worked 1 2-3 innings, and his ERA rose to 5.32.
"The bullpen did a great job," Yost said.
Kansas City scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to tie it 2-2.
Carlos Torres (2-2), New York's scheduled starter for Saturday, worked two innings for the win.
The Mets entered the night with a pair of big injuries to their bullpen and ended it without Wright, who was forced out in the 10th inning when he strained his right hamstring while beating out an infield hit.
He will have an MRI on Saturday. Mike Baxter is expected to join the club then.
"It's going to be tough for us," Young said. "He brings so much to our lineup. That's why he is our captain."
Wright provided all of New York's offense — until Young's heroics — with his early shot.
But New York's bullpen that was without closer Bobby Parnell (stiff neck) and setup man Josh Edgin (rib stress fracture) couldn't save it for Dillon Gee, who worked into the eighth inning.
Salvador Perez's fielder's choice got Kansas City within 2-1 in the eighth, and Lorenzo Cain's sacrifice fly in the ninth tied it. David Aardsma wasted the save chance while filling in for Parnell, expected to be sidelined until at least Sunday.
Pedro Feliciano, who joined the team just before the game after Edgin went on the disabled list, got the last out in the ninth inning in his first major league appearance since 2010.
Gee was in line to be the star after allowing one run on just three singles and two walks. He struck out four in his ninth quality start in 12 outings.
Kansas City had earned road sweeps at the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota before making its first visit to Citi Field.
"We've came back a lot this year," Gordon said. "When they got that early 2-0 lead, we knew that the game was far from over. The pitching staff did a great job after the first inning just to keep it there and let us get a chance.
"Unfortunately it wasn't enough."
NOTES: This is the third series between the teams. They split six previous games. ... Wright's homer was the Mets' first in 64 innings, dating to last Friday. ... Wade Davis made one previous appearance against the Mets, last season in relief with Tampa Bay. ... Edgin is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks. ... Former Mets left-hander Bruce Chen starts Saturday's matinee for Kansas City. Jeremy Hefner will make the start for New York in Torres' place.