Winless Mets get shut out to waste Sean Manaea’s strong debut in 10-inning loss to Tigers

The “April Fools!” punch line never arrived Monday night.

It sure seemed like a bad joke for the Mets: a starting pitcher in his debut for the club taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, shutdown relief through the ninth and a game that should have been won for Carlos Mendoza’s first victory as a major league manager.

Instead, here were the Mets answering questions about a flat lineup and defensive flub following a 5-0 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings at Citi Field. The loss was the Mets’ fourth straight to begin the season — the first time that has occurred for the franchise since 2005.

Sean Manaea allowed one run over six innings for the Mets on Monday night. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Michael Tonkin surrendered five unearned runs in the 10th inning — with Joey Wendle’s fielding error at second base contributing — as the Mets wasted Sean Manaea’s gem in his debut for the club.

The lefty Manaea didn’t allow his first hit until there were two outs in the sixth and finished with a one-hitter over six shutout innings with eight strikeouts and two walks.

But a toothless Mets lineup screamed, “You’ll get nothing and like it!” It followed Friday and Sunday losses in which the Mets scored one run in each. The lone semblance of offensive competence over these four games was Saturday’s six-run performance.

“It’s one of those where it comes down to execution, because we are extremely prepared,” said Francisco Lindor, who went 0-for-4 and is among the early no-shows in the lineup. “We know what [the opponent] is going to do, what they are not going to do, how they are going to attack us. The coaches are here working extremely hard…. We have just got to execute.”

Wendle, playing halfway at second base in the 10th inning, had to decide between throwing home in an attempt to nail the automatic runner and trying to turn a double play on Colt Keith’s grounder. Instead the ball deflected off his glove and everybody was safe.

“I tried to turn a ball that wasn’t a two-ball into a two-ball,” Wendle said, referring to the double play. “I just didn’t secure it. I tried to do it too fast. I took an aggressive line to it and obviously I booted it.”

Carson Kelly delivered the dagger with a three-run homer that followed Javy Baez’s sacrifice fly. Gio Urshela’s single off Tonkin’s glove added to the Mets’ frustration in the inning before Kelly’s blast.

But the Mets should have never allowed it to reach that point on a night they managed only five hits.

“We’re trying to get the ‘W’ and it goes both ways,” Mendoza said. “Offensively, trying to do too much as opposed to taking the walks, creating traffic. That’s what happens. You chase, you expand and then there’s a lot of weak contact and early outs.”

Pete Alonso reacts after striking out against the Tigers on Monday. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Manaea became the first Mets starting pitcher this season to extend beyond the fifth inning.

Andy Ibanez’s single to left with two outs in the sixth gave the Tigers their first hit against Manaea. Kelly, running from second base, received the green light from third-base coach Joey Cora and was thrown out at the plate by Brandon Nimmo to end the inning.

Manaea’s 5 ²/₃ innings hitless was the longest no-hit bid for a pitcher in his Mets debut.

“I was pretty gassed there towards the end,” Manaea said. “We didn’t get the win and ultimately that’s the only thing that matters.”

Manaea retired the first 12 batters he faced before Riley Greene walked leading off the fifth. But Manaea retired the next three batters, despite allowing hard-hit balls in the inning to Mark Canha and Gio Urshela.

Francisco Lindor walks back to the dugout after striking out against the Tigers on Monday. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Overall, Manaea got 13 swings and misses, seven of which came on his four-seam fastball. The lefty topped out at 95.5 mph with the four-seamer and averaged 92.6 mph with the pitch. His eight strikeouts matched his season-high from last year.

The Mets had their best early scoring opportunity in the first inning, after Nimmo was hit by a pitch and Lindor walked. Reese Olson rebounded to retire Pete Alonso before getting Francisco Alvarez, who was batting cleanup for the second time in his career, to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Alvarez hustled a single into a double with two outs in the sixth for the Mets’ third hit against Olson. But Will Vest entered to retire DJ Stewart, keeping the game scoreless.

Starling Marte’s leadoff single in the seventh gave the Mets hope before Brett Baty, Harrison Bader and Wendle were retired in succession. Baty delivered a two-out single in the ninth before pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil struck out against Jason Foley.

“Overall we lost the game in one inning,” Lindor said. “In one inning they played better than us. We were there.”