A Syracuse Mets comeback attempt came up short on Tuesday night as Syracuse fell to the first-place Rochester Red Wings, 5-4, on a sunny night for baseball at NBT Bank Stadium. The Mets returned home for the first time in two weeks, having spent the last 12 games on the road. Syracuse has lost four straight games by a combined seven runs and is now 1-7 in series openers this season.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the third inning, as Justin Dillon looked good in a short start for Syracuse. The Mets right-hander went two scoreless frames with two strikeouts on two hits and zero walks.

Rochester (27-16) got the game’s scoring started in the top of the third inning. Rob Zastryzny replaced Dillon and trouble began to brew. Tres Barrera began the inning with a single, moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt. Andrew Stevenson’s infield single put runners on first and second base with one out, but then it looked like Zastryzny would escape the frame without any damage. He struck out Cole Freeman and then induced a weak ground ball by Luis García back toward the pitcher’s mound. However, Zastryzny threw the ball away down the first-base line, loading the bases and extending the inning on his throwing error. Joey Meneses proceeded to come to the plate and make Zastryzny pay, hitting a home run over the left-center field wall on the tenth pitch of his at-bat for a grand slam and a 4-0 Red Wings lead. Meneses now has three home runs against the Mets this season.

From there, Logan Verrett kept the Mets in check in a masterful start. The 31-year-old right-hander tossed six and one-third scoreless innings, allowing just one run on three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Verrett finished with a flourish, striking out six of the final eight batters he faced.

Syracuse (14-27) scored its run off Verrett in the fourth via some instant offense, as Carlos Rincon doubled leading off the inning and scored when the next batter, Daniel Palka, singled him home, trimming the Rochester lead to three, 4-1. Rincon made his return to the Mets lineup on Tuesday night after spending three weeks on the Injured List.

In the eighth, Rochester picked up what would prove to be a pivotal insurance run, as Cole Freeman lined a drive over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season and a 5-1 lead for the Red Wings. The tally proved to be the only earned run the Mets pitching staff gave up all evening.

In the bottom of the eighth, Syracuse began its late charge. First, the Mets loaded the bases via consecutive singles from Travis Blankenhorn, Cody Bohanek, and Jake Mangum to start the frame. The single was Mangum’s first in Triple-A, as he was called up from Double-A Binghamton on Monday. Then, Nick Plummer drew a walk, bringing in Blankenhorn and making it a 5-2 ballgame. That prompted a pitching change for Rochester, bringing Jordan Weems out of the bullpen in an effort to put out the roaring fire of a rally for Syracuse. The right-hander did indeed put out the fire, inducing a double play ball that scored a run to pull Syracuse within two, 5-3, but provided two much-needed outs. Weems then picked up a strikeout to evacuate the inning with the Red Wings still in front by the 5-3 margin.

In the ninth, the Mets crept to the edge of completing their comeback. With nobody on base and one out, Nick Dini smacked a solo homer to left field, making it just a one-run deficit at 5-4. Dini has hit three home runs in the last two home games for Syracuse. However, the home team’s late charge would end there. Manny Rodriguez did single later in the inning to put the potential tying run on base in the ninth, but Weems got two more outs to earn a six-out save and give Rochester its 27th win of the season. The Red Wings are a sparkling 13-6 in road games on the season.

Syracuse continues its six-game series against the Rochester Red Wings with a quick turnaround on Wednesday, as tomorrow’s first pitch is set for 11:05 a.m. on Education Day at NBT Bank Stadium. Right-hander Connor Grey is set to start for the Mets, opposed by right-hander Cory Abbott for the Red Wings. Grey pitched six scoreless innings in his last start at Buffalo last Thursday.