New York Mets: Chris Withrow

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 9, Mets 4

May, 20, 2014
5/20/14
11:19
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Home is where the heartache is for the New York Mets.

Rookie Rafael Montero lasted only 4 1/3 innings in his second major league start and the Mets twice flopped with bases-loaded, one-out opportunities as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 9-4 on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

The Mets dropped to 20-24, matching their low-water mark at four games under .500. They are 9-13 at home.

With Philadelphia’s win against Miami, the Mets now are alone in last place in the National League East.

The game took 4 hours, 8 minutes -- a minute shy of matching the franchise record for a nine-inning game (4:09, done in 2000 at Dodger Stadium and 2005 against the Milwaukee Brewers).

Trailing by five runs, the Mets clawed back into the game in the bottom of the sixth against Dodgers starter Josh Beckett. Curtis Granderson had a solo homer and Lucas Duda had a two-run shot in the inning to pull the Mets within 6-4. It was Duda’s first homer since April 23 against St. Louis’ Seth Maness.


Anthony Gruppuso / USA TODAY SportsYasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez celebrate Gonzalez's tiebreaking two-run homer in the fifth.


Still, there were wasted opportunities, including a pair of bases-loaded, one-out chances that went for naught. With the Mets trailing 5-1 in the fifth against Beckett, Daniel Murphy struck out and David Wright grounded out after fouling off three full-count pitches. With the Mets trailing 6-4 in the seventh, Chris Withrow sawed Duda’s bat in half and got a pop out to second base. Wilmer Flores then grounded into a fielder’s choice to again strand the bases loaded.

Jose Valverde and Josh Edgin combined to surrender three ninth-inning runs.

Out of control: Montero (0-2) was charged with five earned runs on seven hits and four walks in a 97-pitch effort that lasted only 4 1/3 innings. The rookie wriggled free of serious early trouble, stranding six baserunners through the first three innings, including the bases loaded in the second by striking out reigning co-NL Player of the Week Yasiel Puig.

Montero’s outing imploded in a four-run fifth as the Dodgers took a 5-1 lead. Montero walked Puig to open the inning and, with one out, fell behind in the count to Adrian Gonzalez, 2-0. Gonzalez followed by launching a tiebreaking two-run homer.

Montero could have been bailed out of further trouble, but Chris Young’s lack of range in center field -- at least relative to Juan Lagares’ -- cost the Mets. Young could not run down Matt Kemp’s shot to deep center, resulting in a double. Kemp then scored on Carl Crawford’s single, which chased Montero. Jeurys Familia allowed Crawford to score for the final run charged to Montero.

Montero has now allowed three home runs in two big league starts, matching the total he surrendered in eight starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League before his promotion. The second inning was particularly vexing Tuesday. Montero walked three Dodgers in that frame and surrendered a two-out RBI single to Beckett, the opposing pitcher. Opposing pitchers have now produced a hit in six straight games against the Mets.

Cameo: Justin Turner made a late appearance in his return to Citi Field. After Juan Uribe doubled in the ninth, he departed with an apparent recurrence of a hamstring injury. Turner pinch-ran and remained in the game for the bottom of the ninth.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom makes his second major-league start. DeGrom (0-1, 1.29 ERA) opposes left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-2, 3.00) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.

Series preview: Mets vs. Dodgers

May, 18, 2014
5/18/14
8:04
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke at Citi Field.
METS (20-23, fourth place/NL East) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (23-22, third place/NL West)

Tuesday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.38), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1, 1.29) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-2, 3.00), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-3, 2.54) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (7-1, 2.03), 7:10 p.m. ET

Dodgers short hops

Josh Beckett on Tuesday earned his first win since Sept. 30, 2012. He had been 0-6 in 14 starts. Beckett did not pitch after mid-May last season and ultimately underwent surgery to remove a rib. That procedure attempted to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome -- a pinched nerve affecting his right arm. For the season, the 34-year-old Beckett leads the L.A. rotation in WHIP (1.056) and hits per nine innings (6.3). Beckett is throwing his fastball a career-low 35.5 percent of the time. He now throws a curveball a career-high 30.1 percent.

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a four-inning simulated game Friday and will reenter the rotation Wednesday, officially pushing originally listed starter Paul Maholm to the bullpen. That also could push reliever Chris Withrow to the minors despite a 2.77 ERA, because Withrow is not out of options. Ryu landed on the DL with left-shoulder inflammation.

Maholm (1-4, 5.40 ERA) enters the series off a start against the Miami Marlins in which he allowed 10 runs (five earned) on 11 hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. Reed Johnson homered against him on a 62 mph curveball, the slowest pitch resulting in a long ball in the majors since Jose Bautista sent a 61.7 mph offering also from Maholm over the outfield wall on May 28, 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Maholm made three relief appearances in March/April, including during the club’s season-opening trip to Australia.


Darron Cummings/Associated PressEx-Met Justin Turner will be at Citi Field with the Dodgers on Tuesday.


Justin Turner, a surprise non-tender by the Mets on Dec. 2, returns to Citi Field as a visitor. Turner (.230, 0 HR, 5 RBIs in 74 at-bats) started five times at third base in a six-game stretch through Wednesday with Juan Uribe dealing with a mild hamstring strain.

• Dodgers outfielders Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig have combined to hit .354 (79-for-223) with 15 doubles, 10 homers and 40 RBIs in May.

Puig lost a pair of lengthy streaks Sunday by going 0-for-3 and getting hit by a pitch on the back of the leg in his final plate appearance. He had produced an RBI in eight straight games, matching the franchise record previously accomplished four times, most recently by Adrian Beltre in 2004. He also lost a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Showing more strike-zone discipline than a year ago, Puig ranks seventh in the NL in batting average (.322) and tied for second in RBIs (35). The story about Puig’s defection from Cuba, which includes black-market smugglers, was chronicled in April in ESPN The Magazine.

Ethier largely has been the odd man out. With Kemp resting Sunday, Ethier started for only the third time in L.A.’s past 10 games.

Zack Greinke has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 straight starts. That matches Roger Clemens (1990-91) for the longest streak in the majors since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Greinke ranks first in the NL in wins (seven) and third in ERA (2.03), trailing only Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (1.25) and Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (1.62). Greinke has thrown six different types of pitches this season.

• Second baseman Dee Gordon leads the majors with 25 steals. That’s 10 ahead of runner-up Eric Young Jr.

• Backup catcher Drew Butera, the son of former major-league catcher Sal Butera, originally was a Mets farmhand. Two years after he was drafted in the fifth round, Butera was sent to the Minnesota Twins with Dustin Martin on July 30, 2007 for Luis Castillo.

No. 1 catcher A.J. Ellis returned from the disabled list Wednesday after missing 34 games with a left-knee injury that resulted in April 8 arthroscopic surgery. Miguel Olivo was dispatched to Triple-A Albuquerque with Ellis’ activation.

Butera, incidentally, has pitched twice for the Dodgers since Wednesday in lopsided losses. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning, topped out at 94 mph and capped the initial appearance with a strikeout of Miami’s Marcell Ozuna. Three days later at Arizona, Butera surrendered a double and then two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth inning of an 18-7 loss. Butera subsequently recorded two outs, including an inning-ending strikeout of Martin Prado.

Adrian Gonzalez’s 10 homers are tied for third the NL, trailing only Troy Tulowitzki (13) and Giancarlo Stanton (12).

Kenley Jansen has 12 saves in 14 chances and has struck out 31 batters in 18 2/3 innings.

Brian Wilson, who looked so dominant in the season opener in Australia, has mightily struggled. Wilson, 32, has a 9.45 ERA and has allowed 18 hits and 13 walks (one intentional) in 13 1/3 innings. He already has allowed three homers -- a total he has not exceeded since serving up seven long balls in 62 1/3 innings in 2008 as San Francisco Giants closer.

Clayton Kershaw has made two starts since returning from the DL, a trip required because of a strained muscle in his upper back. He’d like to forget the latter outing. Kershaw surrendered seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. He allowed four extra-base hits in the second inning alone -- matching the combined total from his three previous starts this season. Kershaw came into the outing with a 25-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but issued two free passes in a seven-run second inning.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187