SAN FRANCISCO — Thirteen straight games against the Dodgers and Giants might be a daunting task, but those NL West powerhouses also have lost more than 35 percent of the time this season.
So, it’s probable the Mets eventually will break through against those teams, right?
The waiting game continued Tuesday night, as manager Luis Rojas’ beleaguered lineup forgot to show in a 3-2 loss to the Giants at Oracle Park. The loss was the Mets’ fifth straight, all against the Dodgers and Giants with eight games remaining against those teams over the next nine days.
The Mets (59-60) dropped below .500 for the first time since May 5 and fell 4 ½ games behind the Braves in the NL East. In August, the Mets have lost 12 of 16 games.
“People want results and that is the nature of the beast, and I totally understand that, but we’re giving it our all out there and I’m so proud of how every single game we’re in it,” Pete Alonso said. “We’re locked in, we fight, we scrap, and unfortunately sometimes we come up short and it’s frustrating, but leaving it all out there and the amount of heart that we have is special.”
After the Mets were swept three games in Philadelphia on their last road trip, Alonso extolled fans to remain behind the club, saying, “We’ve got this.” Alonso was asked about that comment Tuesday and if the challenge now seemed more formidable.
“I stand by every single thing I said before,” Alonso said.
He later added: “We have a lot of guys on the shelf right now who are the best in the game and some of the best at what they do. We have got a lot of high talent on the IL. We have so much talent on this roster and it’s really special. Every single night we just have an incredible chance to win.”
Alonso blasted a two-run homer in the eighth against Logan Webb to provide the Mets with a glimmer of hope. The homer was Alonso’s 26th of the season.
The Mets got the tying run to second base in the ninth, but Kevin Pillar struck out looking on a Dominic Leone curveball to end the game. Jeff McNeil had singled leading off the inning against left-hander Tony Watson before Jonathan Villar struck out and Patrick Mazeika was retired on a hard grounder to first base. Leone entered to face Pillar and got ahead 0-2 in the count before snapping off a curve in the strike zone to end it.
Marcus Stroman gave the Mets a much-needed solid performance following consecutive abbreviated starts by Carlos Carrasco and Rich Hill. The right-hander allowed just five hits over seven innings in which he allowed three earned runs, with nine strikeouts and two walks over a season-high 114 pitches. It snapped a streak of four straight starts in which he failed to complete six innings.
Already at 100 pitches, Stroman returned to the mound for the seventh inning and surrendered a leadoff homer to Evan Longoria that pushed the Mets into a three-run hole.
The Mets wasted scoring chances in the fourth and fifth innings against Webb. In the fourth, McNeil — who began the day in an 0-for-14 slide — hit into an inning-ending double play after Michael Conforto’s double and J.D. Davis’ infield single. Longoria’s throwing error on Davis’ grounder allowed Conforto to reach third, but he might have scored if he hadn’t retreated to second on the play.
In the fifth, Pillar and Stroman singled in succession with two outs, but Brandon Nimmo was retired on a soft line drive to second base. Nimmo also left Mazeika at second in the third inning, when he struck out to end the frame.
Tommy La Stella launched Stroman’s eighth pitch of the game for a two-run homer in the first inning. The blast came on a 90-mph cutter that stayed up in the strike zone. LaMonte Wade Jr. singled leading off for the Giants before La Stella cleared the fence in center for his second homer of the season.
“From my end, and the team, we are in a tough situation,” Rojas said. “That’s the reality. We have been having some struggles, we’ve had a lot of tough losses, we know what is happening when we lose a game and we are working hard and trying to get better.”
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