The Syracuse Mets fell a little bit short on Thursday night, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Columbus Clippers on a sunny and warm evening at NBT Bank Stadium. Despite the loss, the Mets have still won two of the first three games in the six-game series.

Early on, it looked like it may turn out to be a pitcher’s duel. Neither team had a hit or a run in the first three and a half innings, as Justin Jarvis for Syracuse (48-67, 15-26) and Peyton Battenfield for Columbus (52-63, 19-22) matched each other with excellent starting pitching.

However, in the bottom of the fourth, the Mets finally got to Battenfield. Syracuse did it in a big-time way. After Brett Baty singled to start the inning, Luke Ritter and Carlos Cortes hit back-to-back homers to roar the Mets out to a 3-0 lead. Ritter now leads all minor leaguers in the Mets organization with 24 home runs this season, and Cortes has smacked homers in consecutive games.

From there, Columbus crept back in the ballgame by plating a run in the top of the fifth. After an out to start the inning, George Valera crushed a homer over the right-field fence to slim the deficit to 3-1. The plot thickened from there, as the Clippers loaded up the bases via two singles and a walk. That necessitated Jarvis’ removal from the ballgame, bringing Hunter Parsons in from the bullpen. He did the job in short order, inducing a double-play ball on the first pitch he threw to end the inning with the Mets in front 3-1.

That also completed the pitching line for Justin Jarvis, who turned in his best start in his short career in the Mets organization. Jarvis allowed just one earned run on three hits in four and one-third innings of work, walking two and striking out four. The lanky right-hander threw 85 pitches, 55 of which were strikes. Jarvis was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Mark Canha trade right around the trading deadline.

In the top of the sixth, the Clippers scored three more times and took their first lead of the night by a 4-3 score. First, Columbus loaded up the bases with nobody out against Parsons with a Bryan Lavastia walk, a José Tena single, and a Johnathan Rodriguez single. Parsons then retired consecutive batters to allow Mets fans to dream of escaping the bases-loaded, nobody out jam. However, it wasn’t to be. Angel Martínez singled home Lavastida and Tena with a two-run single to tie the game, 3-3. Then, with Rodriguez on third and Martinez on first, the 21-year-old speedster Martinez attempted a steal of second base. As Michael Perez tried to throw out Martinez at second, he threw poorly and the ball got away from the Mets. That allowed Rodriguez to prance home from third on the Perez throwing error and give the Clippers their first lead of the night, 4-3.

It took Syracuse exactly three batters to take the lead back in the bottom of the sixth. Cortes walked to start the inning, and after a José Peraza pop out, Perez launched a two-run homer over the right-field fence to avenge his earlier error and hand the Mets the lead back at 5-4. It was the third homer of the night for the Syracuse Mets and their fifth of the week as a team. They hit ten total home runs in a six-game series at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders last week.

Unfortunately for the Mets, their lead would not last long yet again. In the top of the eight, Columbus jolted back in front via their own pivotal long ball. After Jhonkensy Noel walked to extend the inning with two outs, Valera launched his second big fly of the night, a two-run shot over the right-field fence to push the Clippers back in front by a 6-5 count. Hampered by injuries all year, Valera has begun to come alive this week at the plate. He’s gone 4-for-8 with two walks, three extra-base hits, and three runs scored.

The Mets went down quietly in the eighth and ninth innings as the Clippers clinched the 6-5 win on Thursday night. Aside from four hits amidst the three-run flurry in the bottom of the fourth, Syracuse had just two hits and five baserunners in the other eight frames in the ballgame.

Syracuse continues its six-game series against the Columbus Clippers on Friday night. The fourth game of the series is slated for a 6:35 p.m. start time with right-hander Denyi Reyes slated to start on the mound for the Mets against right-hander Zach Plesac for the Clippers.