The Cubs' seven-game winning streak ended in the 11th inning when Bob Bailor doubled home two runs in Chicago.
"We're going to lose one every now and then," Manager Lee Elia said.
The way Dick Ruthven pitched the first seven innings, it appeared the Cubs couldn't lose. Mookie Wilson opened the game with a single, but through seven innings that was the only hit the Mets had.
The Cubs scored once in the seventh to lead by 3-0, but it was a long half-inning and Ruthven tightened up, he said.
In the eighth, he faced three straight pinch hitters: Mike Jorgensen doubled, Danny Heep walked and Rusty Staub doubled. That made it 3-1 and brought on reliever Bill Campbell. Wilson's triple tied the game and George Foster's single put the Mets ahead.
But the Cubs tied it in the ninth. Ryne Sandberg walked, took third on Bill Buckner's single and scored as Ron Cey grounded into a disappointing double play. Buckner, zero for 15 going into the game, had four hits.
Mike Proly (1-3) got two outs in the 11th but Jorgensen doubled and Heep was walked intentionally. Then Bailor, who'd entered the game in the 10th as a pinch runner, doubled to left.