For the second straight game on Saturday a Mets starter has put the team in an early hole that the offense was just not able to overcome, as the Mets drop their seventh out of eight games since the All-Star break. And a move to bring in R.A. Dickey in relief did not work.
The game against the Dodgers got off to an ominous start — Miguel Batista got the first two outs in the first, then promptly walked Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. James Loney singled on the first pitch he saw to score Kemp. Then Miguel just lost the plate. He walked Juan Uribe on four pitches as the crowd got restless. He was far out of the strike zone on the first two pitches to Luis Cruz, and the booing crowd was thinking the worst. However Batista found the plate on the next pitch (cue sarcastic cheer) and was able to strike out Cruz, escaping the inning with just a 1-0 deficit.
Batista settled down until the fourth, when with two on and two outs Uribe doubled home two runs to make it 3-0. Cruz followed with a single to score Uribe to extend the lead to 4-0.
Terry Collins, echoing every Mets fan in the land, had seen enough of Batista, lifting him for a pinch hitter after just three innings in which he allowed four runs on five hits and three walks. Batista just cannot get another start; Matt Harvey must be brought up.
The Mets finally got to former teammate Chris Capuano in the third. Batista’s pinch hitter, Jordany Valdespin bunted for a base hit to lead off the inning. Ruben Tejada followed with a single. Andres Torres struck out and David Wright popped out. Scott Hairston then hit a pop to shallow center that no one could catch. Valdespin scored to bring the score to 4-1 and put runners on the corners for Jason Bay. Bay singled to left to score Torres, 4-2.
Jeremy Hefner, just up from Buffalo to replace Johan Santana, who was put on the disabled list with shoulder “fatigue” caused by his sprained ankle, got the first two outs of the fourth before walking Adam Kennedy. Kemp then hit a fly ball down the line in right. Hairston tried for a sliding catch, wary of the wall, but he couldn’t come up with it. It went for a run scoring triple to make it a 5-2 game.
Not wanting to further tax his bullpen after a second straight short start, Collins chose to have Hefner hit with runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth. Hefner successfully sacrificed, but the Mets failed to score.
Hefner would last just one more inning, allowing a run in the fifth to make it 6-2.
The Mets got the run back in the sixth — Ronny Cedeno hit a solo homer to cut the Dodgers lead to 6-3.
Capuano was removed after seven innings, and the Mets quickly jumped on his replacement Ronald Belisario. Hairston led off the eighth with a single and pinch hitter Daniel Murphy followed with a triple to make it 6-4. Ike Davis lined out to the shortstop and pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded out to score Murphy to make it a one-run game, 6-5.
In a shocker, Dickey came on to pitch the ninth. It would have been Dickey’s day to throw on the side, so Collins apparently figured why not do it during a game? Plus, everyone else in the bullpen stinks. The scheme seemed to work — Dickey quickly got the first two outs, but then Loney hit a flair to center for a single and Uribe slammed a two-run shot to left to make it 8-5.
The Mets threatened in the ninth — with two outs both Torres and Wright walked but Kenley Jansen struck out Hairston to end the game.
Mets lose again, 8-5, as the season seems to be unraveling.