NEW YORK -- Before Friday night's series opener against the Dodgers at Citi Field, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said that New York could be a seller at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline unless there was "improvement in our win-loss record almost immediately." That improvement would have to wait, as the Mets lost to Los Angeles, 5-2, to fall to a season-worst 11 games under .500 at 31-42.
Zack Wheeler threw an impressive game through 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, striking out six and giving up zero runs. But his night took a turn when Cody Bellinger got hold of an 0-2 fastball and drilled a grand slam to the second deck in right field.
Despite the one pitch, Wheeler battled back and retired the side in the seventh, ending his night at 114 pitches.
"I thought except one leaked-back 0-2 fastball, he threw the ball great." Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "He deserved to go back out, he went seven for us and he kept us in the game. You can't ask any more from a starter than that."
Wheeler had spun quality starts in four of his past six starts, and he had allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last eight starts. On Friday, he gave up four runs in one inning.
"You look at Wheeler early on, this guy was 95-98, virtually unhittable," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "For us to hang in there and [Dodgers starter] Alex [Wood] to give us a chance to match him pitch for pitch and us to get to him late, it was huge."
The Mets' offense perked up after Bellinger's slam, as Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer to left-center field in the bottom of the sixth. It was Bautista's first home run as a Met after he joined the team in May.
"It's nice to get on board with a home run since I came over and hopefully I've got a couple more coming." Bautista said.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
All three Mets outfielders had impressive plays in the field, starting with Michael Conforto robbing Joc Pederson of an RBI hit in the third inning with a full-extension diving catch. In the fifth inning Justin Turner hit a fly ball out to left field and Brandon Nimmo made a reaching, diving grab. In the eighth inning, Turner hit a blooper to short right field, and Bautista raced in to make a sliding catch.
HE SAID IT
"Patience, I think, is one of the hardest things to be consistent with, no matter if you are playing or not. So I'm just glad I've been able to keep it in check recently, and hopefully I'll be able to do that moving forward." -- Bautista
In 10 games from April 21-June 13, Jacob deGrom posted a 0.87 ERA, but the Mets only managed to win two of those starts. In his last start against the Rockies on Monday, deGrom finally received some support from the offense and the bullpen and got the win. deGrom will take the Citi Field mound on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET opposite Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who will be returning from the disabled list and forgoing a previously scheduled rehab assignment. In six career starts vs. the Dodgers, deGrom has never earned a win despite a 3.26 ERA.