Callaway defends Cano after latest running gaffe

Embattled New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway defended Robinson Cano after the second baseman had another baserunning lapse in Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins.

It was the second time in three days Cano failed to run hard after hitting a ground ball, as the reeling Mets were swept by the Marlins.

On Sunday, Cano failed to run when he hit a grounder that bounced off the dirt behind home plate and rolled a few feet fair. Cano stood at the plate questioning the call while the Marlins completed a 2-6-3 double play.

"I saw the ball hit and it didn't even hit the plate -- it hit behind the plate," Cano said. "I thought it was a foul ball."

On Friday, Cano jogged to first when he grounded into an inning-ending, 1-6-3 double play, and later told Callaway he thought there were two outs.

"Things are piling up on Robbie right now," Callaway said when asked about Cano's latest bad look. "Come on, let's face it -- the ball lands foul and spins into fair territory. He saw it hit foul, and by the time he looked back up the ball had spun into fair territory and the play was over. Stuff happens like that when things are going bad."

A day after being shut out on one hit, the Mets dropped their fifth in a row -- shut out again as Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara needed just 89 pitches to throw a two-hitter in a duel with Noah Syndergaard.

The latest unsightly defeat against a team with the worst record in the majors is sure to intensify speculation about Callaway's status as the team returns to New York. The Mets (20-25) have their longest losing streak of the year and are a season-worst five games under .500.

"I understand that everybody is disappointed -- the fans, the ownership, myself, the team -- because this is not who we are," Callaway said.

Syndergaard (3-4) allowed two runs in seven innings, and afterward he defended Callaway, who is in his second year as manager.

"I respect the hell out of Mickey," Syndergaard said. "It's kind of bull what's going on right now with the speculation that there could be a change, because we're still early in the season and just one small step from putting this all together. It's certainly not on him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.