NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — On the night Daniel Murphy returned to New York’s lineup, the Mets’ faltering offense might have lost another bat.

Michael Cuddyer was lifted after the sixth inning Tuesday with a knee injury, and New York wasted a stellar effort by Jonathon Niese in a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

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“I’m definitely concerned, but obviously I don’t jump to conclusions ’til after we see that MRI and then we’ll deal with whatever it is,” said Cuddyer, who signed a $21 million, two-year contract with the Mets last offseason.

Cuddyer said he first felt an issue in his left knee while running to first in the second inning.

“It had progressively gotten tighter to the point where I had to say something,” he said.

Cuddyer finished 0 for 2 to drop his batting average to .243. He has six home runs and 28 RBIs.

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Murphy went 1 for 4 with a double in his first game since June 4 because of a quadriceps strain. But even with one of their best hitters back, a Mets lineup that scored 15 runs in 10 games before Sunday, when rookie pitcher Steven Matz had three hits and four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Cincinnati, had just three hits in support of Niese (3-8).

The left-hander gave up four hits and a run in seven innings against a team thought to be interested in possibly trading for him. He is winless in a career-high nine starts.

“It’s tough to swallow but you’ve got to be professional about it,” Niese said. “You’ve got to forget about it and not worry about it. Move on to the next game.”

This was the first game in a stretch in which the Mets play seven of their next nine series against opponents who are above .500, including the first-place Cardinals, Nationals and Dodgers — with two sets against Washington and Los Angeles.

New York had just three hits in falling to 0-5 against the Cubs this year, including four defeats by one run. Chicago completed a four-game sweep of the Mets at Wrigley Field in May.

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