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QUEENS, N.Y. – Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire looked at the replay because there was nothing he could do about it. Instead, he was standing behind a desk inside the visiting manager's office at Citi Field, sounding like he did the day before.

The Tigers fought, they had a chance, they couldn't get the big hit.

But nearby, JaCoby Jones was looking at the replay of the final pitch of Sunday's series final against the Mets, a 96.8 mph fastball from closer Edwin Diaz that was close enough for Strike 3. Jones eventually offered this assessment of home plate umpire Jerry Meals' call : "It was off the plate."

Whether it was or not – "Everybody in here said it was really close," Gardenhire said – the pitch was too close to watch with the game on the line, and after Jones did so, as his momentum from expecting a walk took him toward first base, he let's know what he thought.

It was another frustrating end for the Tigers, who snapped a nine-game release streak on Friday but could not get it big hit necessary to win the series Sunday, falling 4-3. After battling Diaz for nine pitches in the ninth, Jones 'strikeout on the 10th pitch looking spelled the Tigers' second consecutive one-run loss.

Detroit Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones argues with home plate umpire Jerry Meals after he was called out on strikes to end the game with two men on base against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 26, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images)

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"We had some great at-bats," Gardenhire said. "Jonesy had a great bat, ended up striking out on a pitch – who knows – but he had a great bat. We had chances and thats all you can ask for in a game like that. ”

For the third straight game, the Tigers scored in the top of the first inning. They increased the lead in the third, but coughed it up on a big home run in the fourth and nearly came back against one of the best closers in baseball in the ninth inning.

Against Diaz, Christin Stewart led off with a four -pitch walk and was pinch-run by Josh Harrison, who stole second base to get into scoring position with one out.

Then, finally, the Tigers got a hit, but Brandon Dixon's high-bouncing ground ball single to left was not enough to score Harrison.

John Hicks battled Diaz for nine pitches – he had five pitches off before striking out swinging – and then, after Dixon stole second base, Jones battled the same way. Down 1-2, they fouled off four pitches before striking out.

"They were fighting him," Gardenhire said. “They made a lot of pitches, made him fight, made him work for it. We did everything we could possibly get in scoring position. They had a hell of a bat. ”

Said Hicks:“ I felt like I was on every pitch. ”

The Tigers jumped out to lead when Nicholas Castellanos hit his fifth home run of the year in the top of the first, an opposite-field shot to the right-center field. Castellanos then hit a two-run single to the right field in his next at-bat. He came in the game with 14 RBIs on the season.

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Rookie right-hander Spencer Turnbull induced plenty of uneasy swings from the Mets early, racking up five strikeouts in the first three innings, but hit a rough spot in the fourth, the game's turning point.

(Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

Turnbull hung a breaking ball to Adeiny Hechavarria, who hit the right field seats for a three-run home run.

"The fourth inning kind of got away from me a little bit, ”Turnbull said. "I wish I could take that pitch back.

" Obviously, if that doesn't happen, we might have won the game. It's frustrating. ”

Overall, Turnbull was solid. He pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, with one strike and eight strikeouts

The Tigers were once again victimized by the strikeout – 13 times Sunday – but their issues with runners in scoring position – a 2-for-2 8 showing – didn't help

What can the Tigers do from the series loss to the Mets? They snapped the nine-game (maybe 10, depending on a result in September) losing streak that consumed the month of May, but they also came up short when they were good enough to win.

pretty good, ”Gardenhire said. “Everyone was in it. We want to give ourselves a chance every night. These are tough losses but I gotta believe they'll come out fighting again tomorrow.

"That's what they're doing right now, they're having fun in the dugout, they're in it, and that's all you can ask for. ”

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Contact Anthony Fenech at afenech@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech . Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.