- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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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 Sports
Yasiel 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.
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.