By John Schweibacher
» More Columns
After dropping two of three in Cincinnati and getting swept in Houston, the Mets returned home with an 11-7 win over Philadelphia on Labor Day afternoon. The victory snapped New York’s four-game losing streak.
The Mets, who beat the Phillies 10-0 last month in Philadelphia, took an early 10-0 lead in Monday’s win.
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the Mets also had double-digit shutout leads in two games against the Phillies last season (in 12-1 and 17-0 victories).
Prior to 2016, Elias says, the only other time the Mets built 10-0 leads twice against one team in a single season was in 1976 against the Cubs, in 13-3 and 11-0 wins at Wrigley Field.
On Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, Mets right-hander Chris Flexen allowed seven runs for the second straight start as the Astros completed a three-game sweep of New York with an 8-6 win.
Flexen is the fourth Mets starter to give up seven or more runs in consecutive starts this season:
• Jacob DeGrom — May 31 vs. Milwaukee; June 6 at Texas
• Zack Wheeler — June 13 vs. Chicago Cubs; June 19 at Los Angeles Dodgers
• Robert Gsellman — June 15 vs. Washington; June 20 at Los Angeles Dodgers
• Chris Flexen — Aug. 29 at Cincinnati; Sept. 3 at Houston
The only other Mets starting pitcher to have two straight starts allowing seven or more runs over the past four seasons was Dillon Gee, in his final two starts as a Met in 2015.
On Saturday night, the Astros scored four times in the sixth inning and went on to a 4-1 win to sweep the doubleheader against the Mets.
It was the seventh time in club history the Mets played a twin bill in Houston. The previous six times were:
• Sept. 8, 1962 — L 4-3, L 6-5
• May 23, 1964 — L 8-4, L 4-0
• Sept. 18, 1966 — L 9-2, L 6-5
• July 30, 1967 — L 6-5, L 9-1
• June 11, 1977 — L 4-1, W 6-4 (10)
• Sept. 15, 1998 — L 6-5, W 8-4
In the first game of the doubleheader, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey allowed seven runs and eight hits in two innings in his first start since June 14 as the Mets lost, 12-8.
Houston scored four times in the first inning. It was the 20th time this season the Mets allowed at least three runs to begin the game.
The Mets are 3-17 in those 20 games, rallying from 4-0 holes against Miami (April 13) and Oakland (July 22) and a 3-0 deficit at Philadelphia (Aug. 11).
On Thursday afternoon, the Mets lost the rubber game of their series with the Reds, 7-2, in Cincinnati.
With the loss, the Mets completed August with a record of 10-20. It is only the third time the club lost 20 or more games in a month in the last 20 years. They went 6-21 in August 2002 and 8-20 in September 2009.
On Wednesday night, the Mets shut out the Reds, 2-0.
Mets righty Rafael Montero allowed one hit through eight innings before giving up a one-out single to Phillip Ervin and a double to Zack Cozart in the ninth.
AJ Ramos replaced Montero and struck out Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett for his 26th save of the season.
It was the seventh time in club history the Mets shut out the Reds on the road while allowing three or fewer hits in a regular-season or postseason game:
• Aug. 30, 2017 — Mets 2, Reds 0 (Rafael Montero & AJ Ramos, three hits)
• Oct. 4, 1999 — Mets 5, Reds 0 (Al Leiter two-hitter)
• July 2, 1987 — Mets 5, Reds 0 (Terry Leach two-hitter)
• April 4, 1984 — Mets 2, Reds 0 (Ron Darling & Doug Sisk, three hits)
• Oct. 7, 1973 — Mets 5, Reds 0 (Jon Matlack, two-hitter)
• April 30, 1967 — Mets 2, Reds 0 (Don Cardwell three-hitter)
• May 2, 1964 — Mets 3, Reds 0 (Al Jackson two-hitter)
Last Tuesday, Scott Schebler’s first-inning grand slam put the Reds up for good in their 14-4 victory over the Mets, ending a 14-game losing streak against New York that dated back to 2014.
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki took the mound for the second time this season in the bottom of the eighth inning of the blowout loss in Cincinnati.
Prior to Plawecki, who also pitched two innings in a 23-5 loss at Washington on April 30, the only other position player in club history to make more than one appearance as a pitcher was utilityman Matt Franco, who did it twice back in 1999.
Happy Recap: Running Late. The Mets have 10 stolen bases in their last 11 games after swiping just 32 over the first 126 games this season.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: 20 Below. With their loss Sunday, the Mets fell 20 games under the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2009 season.