WHAT IT MEANS: Like Jon Niese the day before him, the Mets gave Chris Young no margin for error. And once Young served up a two-run homer in the sixth inning to Adam LaRoche to break a scoreless tie, the Mets were en route to a 4-3 loss against Washington on Wednesday night.
David Wright and Jason Bay had solo homers in the ninth to pull the Mets within a run, but the comeback fell short as Jordany Valdespin struck out to end it in a rematch with Tyler Clippard.
New York Mets
The Mets’ sixth straight defeat came after a Terry Collins-called afternoon meeting with players. The Mets remained winless in the second half.
They will need R.A. Dickey to top fellow 12-game winner Gio Gonzalez on Thursday afternoon to salvage the final game of the six-game trip to Atlanta and D.C.
The Nats have not swept the Mets in a three-game series in D.C. since Sept. 24-27, 2007 -- during the height of that season’s historic collapse.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Mets (46-45) dropped a season-high eight games behind the first-place Nats in the NL East. They also dipped to one game over .500 for the first time since May 5, when they were 14-13.
Saturday starter Miguel Batista offered little encouragement there are brighter days ahead this weekend. Working the seventh inning on what would be a starting pitcher’s normal bullpen day, he allowed a pair of two-out singles in the seventh, the latter ricocheting off his leg. After a visit from the trainer and a warm-up pitch, Batista served up a two-run double to Steve Lombardozzi as Washington grabbed a 4-1 lead.
Young actually had opened the top of the sixth in a scoreless game by doubling against Jordan Zimmermann. But Ruben Tejada flied out in foul territory down the right-field line, Daniel Murphy grounded out and Young was stranded at third base when Wright flied out to right center.
Young allowed just the two-run homer in six innings. Niese, in the series opener, had departed trailing 1-0 after seven innings, with the lone damage coming on Tyler Moore’s homer in what became a 10-inning loss.
BAY WATCH: Bay went 2-for-4 with a homer in his second game since returning from the disabled list. Bay singled in the fifth inning against Zimmermann. Facing left-hander Tom Gorzelanny in the seventh with Lucas Duda on second base and the Mets trailing by two runs, Bay grounded out to shortstop for the second out.
Andres Torres did follow with an RBI single to right to pull the Mets within 2-1, but Torres was thrown out at second base on the play to end the inning. It was the latest in a litany of times Torres has been retired on the bases.
WHAT’S NEXT: Dickey, who has allowed five earned runs apiece in three of his past four starts, opposes Gonzalez (12-4, 2.93 ERA). First pitch: 12:35 p.m. Thursday at Nationals Park.