Mets

Citi Field A Ghost Town As Mets Head Toward 3rd Straight Losing Year

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The upper deck in left at Citi Field is sparsely populated during the fifth inning of the Mets' loss to the Nationals. (credit: AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

The upper deck in left at Citi Field is sparsely populated during the fifth inning of the Mets’ loss to the Nationals. (credit: AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — As the Mets skid to their third straight losing season, the plus side is that few of their fans seem to be paying much attention.

New York (71-77) has lost four in a row and six of seven since pulling within a game of .500. On “Star Wars” night, fans stayed away from Citi Field as if fleeing Darth Vader. The announced crowd was 25,359 and actual attendance in the 41,800-capacity ballpark appeared to be half that.

In the fourth inning, the last eight sections in the left field upper deck held a total of 10 fans.

The Mets are averaging 30,240, according to STATS LLC, down from 32,402 last year and their lowest since 2004.

More empty seats figure to be ahead: $134 Delta Club tickets behind home plate for Wednesday night’s game were available on StubHub.com for $53.35.

Dillon Gee, Nick Evans and Ruben Tejada all failed to get down bunts, and the Mets blew a two-run lead in their latest defeat, a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

“They’ve all bunted in big situations. They have to execute,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Listen: Collins after yet another loss in Flushing

Gee struck out attempting to bunt after Josh Thole’s leadoff double in the fifth. With two on and no outs in the sixth, Evans struck out following a fouled bunt attempt. And after Jose Reyes’ leadoff single in the seventh, Tejada popped to first on a bunt.

“There’s mechanical things involved. I don’t want to say that they’re ‘careless,’ but you got to do it the right way,” Collins said. “There’s a correct, mechanical way — we have to get back to doing it.”

With the score 2-2 in the seventh, Washington went ahead when pitcher Craig Stammen (1-1) singled off Dale Thayer (0-2) for his first hit since July 30 last year. Ian Desmond singled him to second with one out, Rick Ankiel advanced Stammen by grounding into a forceout against Tim Byrdak, and Ryan Zimmerman lined a single to left off Bobby Parnell.

New York put runners at the corners in the ninth on two-out singles by Reyes and Tejada before Drew Storen (36th save) struck out Lucas Duda on three pitches.

A 2-0 lead in the fifth appeared promising. After Thole was thrown out at the plate by Ankiel on Reyes’ single to center, Duda hit an RBI single for his third hit of the night. Another run scored when the ball skipped by right fielder Jayson Werth for an error.

But Gee immediately gave up the lead in the sixth on RBI doubles by Ankiel and Michael Morse.

“He’s nibbling too much, fell behind, and then he got himself in trouble,” Collins said. “He changed the way he went about things, got a way from the success he had earlier in the game.”

Gee gave up two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He remained tied for second among rookies with Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson at 12 wins, three behind the Yankees’ Ivan Nova.

“I think I got a little carried away with myself,” Gee said. “When things start speeding up, that’s when I need to step off and remember what is working.”

But will anyone be there to see it?

Have you been to a Mets game recently? Tell us about the dwindling crowds in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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