Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 8, Mets 3 (12)

The Mets are under .500 for the first time all season as they fell to the Dodgers, 8-3, in 12 innings Sunday at Citi Field. The Mets have now lost eight of nine games since the All-Star break and nine of their last 10, as the Dodgers swept the three-game set.

TOUGH LOSS: The Mets' bullpen once again was tagged for a loss as Ramon Ramirez imploded in the 12th. With the score tied at 3-3 with two outs and the bases loaded, he allowed three straight hits as the Dodgers blew it open. The bullpen had throw four shutout innings before Ramirez's meltdown, but once again couldn't get the job done.

THIRD TIME: The Mets had been .500 on two previous occasions this season but managed to win their next game to avoid a losing record. They couldn't do it Sunday as they fell to 47-48 on the year. A tough stretch of games continues with Washington and San Francisco, as well as an Arizona team hovering around .500.

STRANDED: As the Mets stumbled out of the gate in the second half, they were averaging five runs a game through Saturday. On Sunday the hitters failed to cash in, scoring just three runs on 16 hits. The Mets went 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position, stranding 14 runners. They blew big chances in the ninth and 10th innings to win the game, including two on and no outs in the 10th.

A SOLID NO-DECISION: Jon Niese pitched a fine game, giving up just three runs in seven-plus innings as he received a no-decision. He was victimized by a two-run homer by Juan Rivera and an RBI single by Andre Ethier in the sixth. He gave up eight hits.

Sunday's start marked the fifth time in his past six starts that Niese allowed three runs or less. In his two starts since the break, he's pitched 14 innings and only given up four runs. With Johan Santana and Dillon Gee out of the rotation, Niese seems to be seizing the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

UP NEXT: It doesn't get any easier for the Mets, who host the first-place Nats before embarking on a 10-game road trip. Chris Young (2-4, 4.11 ERA) will face Jordan Zimmermann (7-6, 2.35) at 7:10 p.m.