LOS ANGELES -- After a trio of dramatic victories over the weekend against Arizona put the Dodgers in first place, they slipped right back out Monday with a 4-2 loss to the Mets on pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo's tiebreaking three-run homer with one out in the ninth inning.
Kenta Maeda (8-9), who was pitching because closer Kenley Jansen had appeared in each of the three wins, allowed the blast and took the loss. Dodgers relievers have suffered 10 of the club's last 12 losses, two by Maeda.
Maeda said his transition from starter to reliever, seamless when implemented at the tail end of last season and into the postseason, is different this year because it began nearly two months earlier.
The Dodgers nearly came up with another magic act in the bottom of the ninth off Mets closer Robert Gsellman. Alex Verdugo singled. Cody Bellinger ripped a shot over first base that umpire Ryan Blakney ruled foul, but the call was challenged and overturned, putting runners at the corners, assuming Bellinger would have had a single.
"I don't know where the ball ended up, I thought I'd be on second base," said Bellinger. "I was just glad they reviewed the play, because I thought it was fair."
Yasmani Grandal hit a sacrifice fly for a run, but weekend hero Matt Kemp bounced into a game-ending double play.
"I thought Kemp was going to do it again," Bellinger said.
Although Arizona's losing streak reached four with a loss to San Diego, overlooked Colorado climbed back atop the wild National League West by a half-game over the second-place Dodgers, with Arizona another game back.
Maeda pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and was sent back out for the ninth to allow a leadoff ground-rule double to Jay Bruce. After a sacrifice bunt moved Bruce to third, Jeff McNeil was grazed by a pitch to put runners on the corners, before Nimmo homered on a 2-2 pitch, the seventh pitch of the at-bat.
"Kenta tried to get the slider back-foot and just didn't get it there," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He had him 0-2, he spoiled some good pitches. He tried to bury that one, and it just didn't get there."
The opportunity that really eluded the Dodgers was in the seventh inning, after Mets starter and NL Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom ran his pitch count up to 109 and was removed.
"Getting deGrom out of the game after the sixth was a victory in itself," said Roberts.
Verdugo greeted reliever Seth Lugo with a double. Bellinger followed with a soft single to left, but Verdugo lost track of the infielders and hesitated long enough to be stopped at third. With runners on the corners and no outs, Grandal struck out and Yasiel Puig grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"The seventh inning was something we'd like to get back," said Roberts. "First and third, nobody out, deGrom's out of the game, it's a chance for us to get a lead. I just thought Yas got out of the strike zone and Yasiel got a 2-0 pitch, hit it hard, but in that situation you want to elevate it."
The Dodgers scored off deGrom two batters into the bottom of the first inning and not again. Justin Turner, non-tendered by the Mets after the 2013 season, turned around a 96-mph 2-1 fastball for his 12th homer. It was only the ninth home run allowed by deGrom this year and, at 414 feet, the longest. It was Turner's eighth homer in 28 career games against his former team.
Dodgers starter Alex Wood dealt with traffic on the bases, but kept damage to a minimum. He induced a pair of double-play grounders, had one inning end when Grandal threw out Todd Frazier trying to steal second base and struck out Austin Jackson to end another inning after a Grandal passed ball allowed runners to reach second and third.
It was deGrom who tied the game with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning, which opened with a walk of Bruce. That was the only run allowed by Wood, who left for a pinch-hitter after five innings with a no-decision.
"I just left a breaking ball up, simple as that," Wood said, insisting that he was more frustrated with being unable to bunt Puig to third with no outs in the third inning after Puig's leadoff walk and stolen base.
deGrom lasted only one inning longer than Wood. After Turner's first-inning blast, deGrom allowed only one more hit. But the top of the Dodgers' order worked him for a 34-pitch scoreless sixth inning, extended by shortstop Amed Rosario's error, and deGrom was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
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The loss snapped the Dodgers' 12-game winning streak against the Mets, the second-longest winning streak against any opponent in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
In his last 13 starts, Wood is 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA and a batting average against of .229.
HE SAID IT
"He threw me like four out of five sliders when I was expecting to see 98, but you still got to get the bunt down. That could shape the course of the game, off a guy like that." -- Wood, on his failure to bunt in the third inning
Rich Hill opposes Jason Vargas and the Mets on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. PT. David Peralta took Hill deep for a three-run homer that cost the Dodgers a game against Arizona in the left-hander's last start, but it was his first loss since July 10.