Colon gives up pair of homers in loss to Rangers
d'Arnaud goes deep, but situational hitting remains a problem
NEW YORK -- If Citi Field is too big, if that's one of the reasons the Mets can't score consistently at home, then apparently, no one told the Rangers.
Texas used a pair of long balls to defeat New York, 5-3, on Saturday night and set up a rubber match for Sunday afternoon between the two struggling, fourth-place clubs. Robinson Chirinos went yard during the Rangers' four-run first, and Adrian Beltre added a solo shot in the third off right-hander Bartolo Colon, who allowed five earned runs for the second consecutive start.
"Just fell short tonight," said Travis d'Arnaud, who homered and has reached base in all 10 games since returning to the Majors.
It started as an ideal night for the Mets -- picture-perfect July weather, captain David Wright back in the lineup and one of their more consistent starters on the mound. But Colon quickly found trouble.
Chirinos' blast came on a belt-high fastball away and landed beyond the fence in right-center. The Rangers already had a one-run lead, underscoring a recent problem for Colon: early ineffectiveness. Colon has allowed nine runs in the first inning of his last four starts, including at least one in each of those games.
"I have no idea why that's been the case. I just work hard, work the same, work through it," Colon said through a translator. "I don't think I did anything special [after the first inning]. I was just having trouble getting my pitches where I wanted them that first inning. I just fought through it, and I started feeling really good after that."
Beltre's homer, a line drive to left field, was his second in as many nights and was the last significant blemish on Colon's ledger. Colon went seven innings, giving up all five runs on eight hits and two walks. His final pitch of the night was a 91-mph fastball that he snuck by Beltre.
The life the Mets showed at the plate was ultimately not enough. d'Arnaud sent a Colby Lewis fastball into the seats in left-center to bring New York within two runs in the fourth inning, but the Mets were quiet the rest of the way. Lewis struck out seven in six innings to collect his second win in the last month and a half.
"You always want to build off the previous game," Lewis said. "We won tonight, but we want to do it again tomorrow. We're not out of this yet."
The Mets had billed this current 10-game homestand as a chance to turn around the season, or at least make some headway in the National League East. With general manager Sandy Alderson prepping to reassess the team's Trade Deadline status -- buyer, seller or something in between -- around the All-Star break, it could wind up being one of the more influential sequences of the Mets' season.
New York split the first two games of this series with Texas, but one of the team's shortcomings -- situational hitting -- has persisted. The Mets are 5-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the two games and have left 15 men on base.
The most obvious example of that came in the third inning on Saturday. The Mets loaded the bases with nobody out, but only a Bobby Abreu single plated a run. The team is hitting .169 with the bases loaded this season.
New York's best late scoring chance came when Chris Young and Eric Campbell walked to open the eighth. With the potential tying runs on base and the Mets down to their final six outs, manager Terry Collins asked Juan Lagares to lay down a bunt.
"The thought process was to try and stay out of a double play. He's not swinging real good right now," said Collins of Lagares, who entering Saturday was 4-for-8 in the previous two games and hitting .292 since returning from the disabled list. "So we put the bunt on."
Lagares sent a bunt attempt foul, then hit into a double play.