NEW YORK — Chris Bassitt had his shortest start in three months, failing to get through the fourth inning as the NL East-leading New York Mets lost to the Chicago Cubs 5-2 Monday night.
The Mets began the day with a 1½-game edge over the Atlanta Braves, who played later in San Francisco.
The Mets had won each of Bassitt’s last eight starts, a span in which he had a 2.24 ERA. But the right-hander gave up five runs in 3⅔ innings — his quickest exit since he lasted a season-low 3⅓ innings against the San Diego Padres on July 8.
Rafael Ortega homered in the second — the first home run allowed by Bassitt (13-8) since he gave up Manny Machado’s round-tripper July 23, a stretch of 54⅓ innings. Zach McKinstry hit a two-run shot in the third, and Ortega and Alfonso Rivas each had an RBI single in the fourth.
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The Mets stranded 10 runners — including seven over the first six innings against rookie right-hander Javier Assad (1-1), who allowed five hits in earning the first victory of his career.
Mark Canha struck out with the bases loaded in the first. James McCann delivered a two-out RBI single in the fourth, when Brandon Nimmo whiffed to leave two on. Eduardo Escobar tripled with two outs in the sixth but was left there when Assad struck out Tyler Naquin.
The Mets loaded the bases with no outs but didn’t score in the eighth. Manuel Rodriguez struck out Canha before giving way to Brandon Hughes, who retired Escobar and Darin Ruf on flyouts.
Hughes gave up a two-out homer to Francisco Lindor in the ninth before retiring Jeff McNeil on a groundout for his fifth save.
Escobar, who also singled in the fourth, extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He’s batting .500 (18 for 36) during the run.
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Cubs SS Nico Hoerner (triceps) didn’t play after exiting Sunday’s game in the sixth inning. Manager David Ross said Hoerner was a little sore but planned to take swings in the batting cage before the game. … Willson Contreras (left ankle) is eligible to come off the injured list Tuesday, but Ross said the All-Star catcher likely will return after Thursday’s day off.
Cubs RHP Adrian Sampson (1-5, 3.76 ERA) has one win in 14 starts this season despite allowing two runs or fewer nine times, including in each of his last three outings. Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (5-1, 1.66 ERA) has retired at least 12 consecutive batters in each of his last six starts, the longest such streak in the last 40 years.