NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Just 18 games into the season, Mets fans are wearing paper bags over their heads at Citi Field.

With the team off to its worst start at home in franchise history, it’s easy to see why they feel that way.

On Thursday night, the Mets had two runners thrown out on the basepaths in the last two innings and New York lost 4-3 to the Astros.

The Mets fell to 1-8 at Citi Field. They began 1-7 at the Polo Grounds during their 1962 expansion season before winning their next home game. They were 2-7 in 1981, too.

The Mets’ seventh straight home loss dropped them to 5-13 overall, their poorest start since going 3-15 in 1964, according to STATS LLC.

“I think we have to find some kind of way to be honest about what kind of team we are,” Mets starter R.A. Dickey said. “We can’t just keep telling ourselves, ‘We’re a better team than this.’ We may not be. We got to be honest about that and identify what we’re doing wrong and do it better.”

The Mets should get some help for an offense that is batting just .238. Jason Bay is set to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday.

Hunter Pence hit a blistering go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. Then Astros reliever Jose Valdez made a sweeping tag at home to end the Mets’ eighth-inning comeback.

In the ninth, after Jose Reyes got his fourth hit, Josh Thole popped up a bunt and closer Brandon Lyon threw to first for the double play.

“There’s 25 guys in here trying to get the job done, but there’s no more trying anymore,” Thole said. “We have to. … We have to get the bunts down. We have to move guys over.”

“When you play as poorly as we’ve played, those big plays are going to go against you,” said Mets star David Wright, who went 0 for 3 and is in a 0-for-19 slump.

Daniel Murphy hit a tying, two-run homer in the sixth to spoil a fine outing by Houston starter Bud Norris.

Dickey flustered the Astros after a three-run second inning. But Pence lined a tiebreaking shot deep into the first section beyond the left-field wall.

“It’s hard to fight the mentality — ‘What’s next mentality. How many ways can we lose a ballgame?'” Dickey said.

Norris was pitching with a 3-1 lead in the sixth. He gave up a one-out double to Willie Harris before Murphy hit a fly just inside the right-field pole for his first homer of the season and second of three hits on the night.

Murphy should see significantly more playing time at second base because the Mets cut December draft pick Brad Emaus on Monday. Learning a new position this season, Murphy turned two double plays to back Dickey (1-3).

Mark Melancon (2-1) walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and Fernando Abad did the same in the eighth, walking Angel Pagan on a 10-pitch at-bat. Then after a strikeout, Murphy had a perfect hit-and-run single that sent Pagan to third.

Valdez relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Justin Turner with a pitch in the dirt. The ball got away from J.R. Towles and Pagan broke for home. Towles chased the ball up the first base line and tossed it to Valdez, who swept around to tag Pagan.

“I thought I had a fair chance to make it,” Pagan said, “thought it was far enough to make something happen for our team.”

Lyon pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Norris worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first — the Mets were 4 for 17 with the bases loaded coming in. And to form, Ike Davis struck out and Pagan hit a long fly to right to end the threat.

“R.A. pitched very good,” manager Terry Collins said. “I think if we would have gotten something in the first that would’ve helped.”

Norris then drove in a run in the second with a single. A run had already scored on Dickey’s wild pitch and Michael Bourn followed Norris with an RBI single to put Houston up 3-0.

But Dickey figured out how his knuckleball was reacting to Wednesday’s light breeze and shut down the Astros, allowing only three hits from the third inning through the seventh. He was aided by three double plays.

Astros second baseman Bill Hall left in the fourth because of a sprained right ankle. He was injured when he slammed into the wall behind first base making a running catch of Harris’ foul pop in the second inning. Matt Downs took over at second in the fourth.

NOTES: Mets reliever Bobby Parnell has a circulatory problem in the middle finger of his pitching hand and will have further tests to determine if a blood clot is causing the numbness. He will likely go on the 15-day DL. … The Mets have lost their last five series.

Are the Mets better than this? Sound off 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.)

Comments (20)
  1. Mark says:

    WAAAH! WAAAH! Sounds like the same crybabies who wanted Coughlin and Manning out after the first two games of the 2007 season. Go away Fairweather Fans or Yankmee Trolls! LETS GO METS!

    Glad those fans put bags on their heads. They are probably so freakin ugly they did the world a public service..

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  5. Tony says:

    They could put Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle in the line up, …the other remaining 5 Mets STINK SO, SO , SO Bad that they will Still lose. And that’s even if 2 of those 5 are minor leaguers David Wright and Jose Reyes. Gotta go, gotta get the air freshner out, just talking about these amateurs is stinkin’ up the joint

  6. elliott habermann says:

    nelson doubleday, donald grant joan pason where are you

  7. R Dub says:

    Take last season’s Brooklyn Cyclones team and bring them to Flushing. It may be the only hope.

  8. keith says:

    Batting cleanup today, number “$$”, is Bernie Madoff!!!!!

  9. mr baseball says:

    Hey Mess,lets challenge the record of the ’62 team 40-120

  10. Steven from Lindenhurst says:

    I really feel bad for the Mets Fans…You would figure it could not get this bad, but with the management and ownership they have, it will only get worse before it gets better. I think we all saw this coming in the last few years. Love the guy with the “Killer P’s” bag…brilliant!

  11. brooklyn4ever says:

    I love the Met’s. They have been our families team since the Dodger’s left Brooklyn, but seriously, right now, they are an absolute disgrace and a total embarassment.
    No matter how bad they do though, I will never jump shp and root for anyone else. If you are a true fan, you go down with the ship. I hope that MLB does step in and take the reins. It wiil be the only thing that can possibly save them. t Terry Collins has to be kicking himself in the butt. I know I would be if I were him.

  12. Lou G. says:

    Let the rebuilding begin for real. Ownership and management should have been up front with their fans right from the beginning. This years team was not built to be a contender in any way with a complete patchwork of pitchers. The same underacheiving, unclutch players continue to do their thing, except this year they have forgotten how to run bases and catch the ball!!!!
    Good luck Wilpons with well under 20,000 fans at a game on the best day!!

  13. floyd bannister says:

    oh yeah, the yankees won again last night 6-2 but who’s counting…..LET’S GO METS

  14. JH says:

    MEET THE MUTTS!!!!!!

  15. Vin says:

    The Mets are a franchise more concerned with what color uniform they are wearing for the next game then putting a quality team on the field

  16. CrazyGeronimo says:

    The Mets are the worst organization in Baseball. Their major league team can’t hit, field, pitch or run the bases. They are weak offensively. Their minor league system is bare. It will be many yrs. before they contend. I like Alderson and I give him 5 years and he’ll have the team turned around.
    For their own good and that of the franchise and the fans the Wilpons should sell the team. Find something else for Jeff to play with.

    1. CrazyGeronimo says:

      I meant to say they are weak defensively.

  17. Bob C. says:

    I’m not sure we should expect much more from this team. After all, it’s essentially the same cast of characters as last year’s disappointing team, minus their best pitcher, Santana and Jason Bay, a proven bat. I’m afraid that until the Wilpons either sell the team or find a way to straighten out their financial situation, this is what we’ll see at Citi-Field. I still love going to games, but it kind of reminds me of the early days … always waiting until next year!

  18. Eddie P says:

    The Mets are what they are !!!!. I wish I could say different but they don’t do anything to prove otherwise. There were so many opportunities to break the game open last night but nobody can get a hit. The pitching has not been good. What do you do. Terry Collins can preach and rant all he want’s but he is not on the field, the players have to get it done Period!!!!!!!! . Jason Bay comes back today so hopefully they can get something going. If not the season really will be over and they’re not that far away now.

  19. Eli Rendon says:

    Why do they bring players up to the majors, that don’t have any clue as to the fundamentals of baseball( BUNTING) !!!!!!!! Most players do not belong on the the major league roster.

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