The New York Mets have been one of the more inconsistent teams in the majors this season and it has cost them in the standings.
The Mets look to get back into the win column and avoid losing a series to the lowly San Diego Padres when the two ballclubs continue a three-game set this evening from Petco Park.
New York dropped a 3-1 decision in Friday's opener, as NL Cy Young Award candidate R.A. Dickey was saddled with the loss for giving up three runs, two of which were earned, and four hits in seven innings. The knuckleballer managed to strike out nine and walked three batters.
"I thought he pitched a great game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We asked him to go a little bit farther than we usually do, but they weren't exactly hitting the ball hard."
Ronny Cedeno had two hits and drove in a run, while David Wright ended 0-for-3 with a run scored. Wright needs one more home run to reach 200 in his career and will join Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220). He also is three RBI shy of 800.
Ruben Tejada had two hits to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Andres Torres has hit in 13 straight road games dating back to July 13.
The Mets are 5-4 so far on a season-high 11-game road trip and sit nine games off the Wild Card race. They're also 6-15 since the All-Star break.
Jeremy Hefner gets the call for the Mets tonight and he is just 1-4 with a 5.52 earned run average in 14 games (5 starts) this season. The rookie right- hander, who hasn't won since May 29 versus Philadelphia, allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in an 8-7 win at San Francisco on Monday. He did not figure into the decision of that one.
Hefner faced San Diego for the first time in his career on May 24 in an 11-5 loss and was saddled with the defeat for permitting a season-high six runs and nine hits over 3 2/3 frames.
Meanwhile, the Padres needed only four hits to dispose of the Mets in the opener of a six-game homestand after going 3-7 on a recent road trip.
John Baker drove in a run, Yonder Alonso added two hits and a run scored and starting pitcher Clayton Richard pitched well for the win. Richard allowed just one run in seven innings before Luke Gregerson and closer Huston Street held New York off the board the rest of the way.
"It's a great sign. We've seen him better and he goes seven-plus and gives up one run," Padres manager Bud Black told the club's website. "That's where he is right now in his game: We expect those type of outings from Clayton. He got his ground balls. ... He held them at bay."
Street last allowed a run on June 17 at Oakland and is riding a 17 1/3 scoreless inning streak.
The Friars will host the Chicago Cubs on this residency, too, and are scheduled to hand the ball to Edinson Volquez to start Saturday's middle contest. Volquez is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his last seven starts and barely got by Cincinnati his previous time out on Monday. In the 11-5 win over his former Reds team, Volquez allowed five runs in five innings.
Volquez is 7-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 22 starts with San Diego and lost to the Mets back on May 27, when he was tagged for two runs over 5 2/3 frames in a 2-0 loss. The right-hander hasn't much success in his career against the Mets as evidenced by his 0-3 mark and 5.32 ERA in four starts.
New York won three of the four matchups with San Diego back in late May.