NEW YORK -- April was good. May and June were bad. July was good.
Can the turning pages of the calendar really mean that much for the New York Mets?
The Mets certainly hope not, and they hope their performance on the first day of August wasn't a sign that this will be another one of those bad months. They didn't hit well, they didn't field well and in the end even the pitching gave way in a 5-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants in 126 minutes.
The Mets didn't have a hit against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong until Juan Lagares' leadoff ground ball in the sixth got past a diving Brandon Crawford. With the help of two double plays, Vogelsong had faced the minimum 21 batters (on just 82 pitches) before Lucas Duda's leadoff home run in the eighth. The righty allowed only two hits in a 102-pitch complete game.
Mets starter Jonathon Niese allowed two runs in the second (unearned because of his own error). Niese pitched well, but the Giants scored three times off him in the seventh, with triples by Crawford and Hunter Pence.
Duda goes deep: The turn of the calendar didn't seem to affect Duda, who was one off the major-league lead with his seven home runs in July. His first homer of August was also his first this season to straightaway left field.
Important games? Manager Terry Collins talks a lot about how many games the Mets have left against the teams ahead of them in the National League East, but the Giants are also a team the Mets are chasing in their long-shot bid to be taken seriously as a playoff contender.
His own fault: The two Giants runs in the second inning were unearned, but it was a Niese error that was to blame. With Juan Perez on second base after a leadoff double, Niese got Gregor Blanco to bounce back to the mound. Perez stupidly roamed off the bag at second, but Niese bounced his throw to shortstop Ruben Tejada. By the time Tejada recovered the ball, Perez was safe at third and Blanco safe at first. A Crawford single made it 1-0, and a sacrifice bunt and Pence groundout made it 2-0.
Replay costs Mets, too: The Mets didn't have a baserunner in the first three innings against Vogelsong, but they did have someone standing briefly on first base. Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled that Chris Young was hit by a Vogelsong pitch in the second inning. Giants manager Bruce Bochy challenged the call, and replay officials very quickly ruled that the ball had hit Young's bat rather than hitting him.
Instead of a hit batsman, it was a foul ball, and Vogelsong got Young to pop to shortstop.
What's next: Jacob deGrom, whose 1.39 July ERA was the third-best in the National League (behind Clayton Kershaw and Tyson Ross), makes his first August start Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Jake Peavy, who lost his Giants debut last Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, starts for San Francisco.