NEW YORK -- This time, there would be no comeback for the Mets, as the A's held them off for a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Citi Field to foil New York's attempt at a sweep.The A's cracked three home runs -- solo shots from Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and
NEW YORK -- This time, there would be no comeback for the Mets, as the A's held them off for a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Citi Field to foil New York's attempt at a sweep.
The A's cracked three home runs -- solo shots from Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman -- off Mets starter Rafael Montero, who pitched seven innings and notched his first Major League hit but took the loss.
A rain delay postponed the 1:10 p.m. ET start time by 61 minutes. At 2:13 p.m., the second batter of the game, Semien, opened the scoring with a home run to left. Davis lifted his 28th home run of the season on a 1-1 pitch in the fourth; half of Davis' 14 hits in July are homers. After the Mets evened the game at 2 in the sixth, Chapman's second towering shot to left in as many days broke the tie.
"I think I need to keep the ball a little bit lower," Montero said. "That's really where I got into some trouble and there was damage done against me. Those home runs, when they occurred, that's because I kept the ball too high."
Mets manager Terry Collins felt Montero did more than enough to keep his club in the game.
"He did a nice job again today," Collins said. "We didn't have many opportunities, but he gave us every chance to get back and win the game."
Semien finished with two hits, giving him seven hits in 13 at-bats during the three-game set.
"We've gotten worn down here a little bit these first two games here where we had some leads and they came back," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "so it was good the guys kept grinding and kept responding."
A's starter Daniel Gossett entered with an 0-3 record and 6.75 ERA over his past four starts, but that affected him little as he outmatched Montero, pitching six innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. Michael Conforto hit his 19th home run off the facade of the Coca-Cola Corner in the third for the Mets' first run, and he is hitting .350 with five home runs and 11 RBIs since the All-Star break. After Jose Reyes' RBI groundout scored Jay Bruce in the sixth, Gossett induced a ground ball from Rene Rivera to end the Mets' threat.
The rally was nullified with Chapman's swing of the bat the next inning, snapping the Mets' four-game win streak. The A's improved to 11-14 in one-run games.
"I think I'll be able to use that as a springboard," Gossett said. "I felt like I was out there competing. I didn't feel like I was out there surviving. I was competing, and that's essential when you're playing at the highest-caliber level. I felt like I put the team in a good spot to win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Shades of Saturday: Similar to the night before, Chapman launched a ball high into the Flushing air, and it landed in the left-field seats. His home run on Sunday, estimated at 362 feet, didn't travel as far as the one he hit Saturday, but this one proved to be the deciding factor in a one-run game. The rookie third baseman has four home runs in nine games since the All-Star break.
"I don't know that he hit the one today too terribly well. That's how strong he is," Melvin said. "He got it off the end a little bit. But that's what he does. He's going to strike out some, and when you're at the big league level for the first time, there's going to be some struggles, but he's always one swing away from putting the ball in the seats. Today obviously was a huge one for us."
Rallying in the sixth, again: Bruce led off the home half of the sixth with a single to right. After Lucas Duda struck out, T.J. Rivera roped a double down the left-field line to set up second and third for Reyes. With the infield playing back, a ground ball was more than enough to tie the game at 2. Wilmer Flores walked and T.J. Rivera represented the go-ahead run at third, but Gossett got Rene Rivera to ground out to third to end the inning.
"I knew I needed a play on the ground and the defense behind me was going to take care of it," Gossett said. "So I just made sure I didn't elevate anything, kept everything down. Thankfully everything worked out, and we stuck with the plan."
"Next week's going to be hard. Again, I will do the best I can to keep their mind on the game." -- Collins, on keeping the Mets focused in light of the upcoming non-waiver Trade Deadline
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Since July 23, 2015, Davis has clobbered 89 home runs -- the most in the Majors in that span.
A's: The A's head to Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, with right-hander Chris Smith pegged to start Monday's 4:07 p.m. PT opener at Rogers Centre. Smith has a 2.77 ERA in two starts since being selected from Triple-A Nashville in place of Jharel Cotton (blister).
Mets: After a 10-game homestand, the Mets will travel west for a 10-game road trip beginning with a four-game set in San Diego. Jacob deGrom, who is 7-0 with a 1.51 ERA over his past seven starts, will start for the Mets opposite Padres starter Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. E.T.
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Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.