Mets bats got quiet vs. Padres again for third straight loss

Some help arrived Saturday for the Mets, but lefty-hitting Daniel Vogelbach was in the dugout, not in the lineup.

And on another quiet night for the bats, and with a 1-through-9 that looked the same as it did months ago, the Mets seemed to need more reinforcements.

They made a clear case for adding a righty bat as they were silenced by the Padres, 2-1, in front of 39,359 at Citi Field on a muggy summer night, losing a third consecutive game for just the second time this season.

The Mets fell to 58-37 and their NL East lead dropped to just a half-game above the Braves after their loss and Atlanta’s 7-2 victory over the Angels. The Mets’ lead had been 10 ¹/₂ games at the beginning of June.

Francisco Lindor strikes out against the Padres.
Corey Sipkin

In the ninth inning, J.D. Davis, hanging on to his righty-hitting DH spot by a thread, blooped a single to right field to score Pete Alonso as the Mets finally mounted a rally. But with runners on the corners, Tomas Nido popped out to second to end the threat against Padres closer Taylor Rogers.

Employing a righty-heavy lineup that included Davis (2-for-4 with two strikeouts) at DH against lefty Blake Snell, the Mets stranded eight runners and could not find the big hit that had come so often this season, until their recent struggles. They have scored 10 runs in their past five games.

Chris Bassitt (seven innings, two runs) was excellent in an start in which he briefly flirted with perfection, but perfection might not even have been enough because the Mets’ offense had no pulse.

Manny Machado celebrates his home run against the Mets on Saturday.
Corey Sipkin

The Mets finished with eight hits, few of them clutch, on a night when they went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Starling Marte was the surprising biggest culprit. He entered play batting .392 this month. But the right fielder struck out three times during an 0-for-4 night, leaving three on base in the process.

Vogelbach, the slugger acquired Friday from the Pirates, is a righty-killer who likely will make is Mets debut Sunday. His DH partner for the moment will be Davis, who walked back to the dugout following his seventh-inning strikeout hearing boos from a crowd that likely will see a different righty DH for the final few months of the season.

Davis has been a problem, but was not the problem Saturday. The Mets advanced a runner into scoring position in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings and came up empty each time.

The Mets wasted their first and perhaps best chance in the second inning, when Alonso singled ahead of a walk to Mark Canha without an out. Eduardo Escobar’s fielder’s choice and Luis Guillorme’s double play ended their threat.

In the third and fifth, Marte strikeouts cost them. In the fourth Canha and Escobar made unproductive outs.

The chances dried up after Snell was lifted until the ultimately disappointing ninth.

While the offense was wasting its opportunities, Bassitt was wasting no pitches.

A Padres batter did not even reach base until the fifth and they did not score until the sixth — under controversial circumstances.

Bassitt, who struck out 11 to match a career high, walked none, hit one batter with a pitch and surrendered four hits. It seemed he was out of the sixth inning when a top-of-the-zone slider surprised Manny Machado, who watched it go by. Bassitt had taken several steps to the dugout when he realized what could have been strike three was actually ball one, as called by umpire Jim Wolfe.

Chris Bassitt allowed a two-run homer to Manny Machado that was the difference in the Mets’ loss.
Corey Sipkin

Bassitt froze and returned to the mound. The next pitch — a slider, too — slid into the middle of the plate, and Machado rocketed it to left field for a two-run home run that brought Bassitt into a deep squat and the park into a stunned silence.

The swing ruined a brilliant performance by the Mets righty who, since a 3 ¹/₃-inning, seven-run outing against the Padres on June 8, has strung together six straight quality starts in which he has posted a 2.43 ERA.

He has rounded into form, and there are clear avenues toward the Mets entering the postseason with a potentially dominant rotation if Jacob deGrom returns and his health lasts.

But the rotation was far from the minds of the Mets. Some help had arrived for the offense, but clearly not enough, with a week and a half until the trade deadline.

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