By John Schweibacher
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After losing three of four to the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets dropped the opener of their West Coast trip Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Zack Wheeler, who gave up eight runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings in his previous start against the Cubs, allowed seven runs and eight hits in two innings as the Mets lost to the Dodgers, 10-6.
The last Mets pitcher to have back-to-back starts in the same season without going more than two innings was Randy Jones, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings vs. the Astros and then was knocked out in the first inning without retiring a batter against the Braves in consecutive starts in 1982.
On Sunday afternoon, the Mets beat the Nationals for the first time in seven tries this season at Citi Field and finished 3-4 on their seven-game homestand with a 5-1 win.
Jacob deGrom allowed just one unearned run over eight innings and hit his first career homer as the Mets salvaged the final game of the series.
As Gary Cohen noted on the telecast Sunday, the Mets have now won each of the last 17 games in which one of their pitchers homered and have not lost such a game since July 24, 1996, when Jason Isringhausen hit a home run in a 7-6, 10-inning loss at Colorado.
The last time the Mets lost a home game despite one of their pitchers hitting a home run was on May 27, 1990, when Dwight Gooden homered in an 8-4 loss to the Padres at Shea Stadium, in what turned out to be Davey Johnson’s final game as Mets manager.
On Saturday afternoon, the Nationals made it three wins in a row over the Mets. Daniel Murphy, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Washington’s 8-3 victory over the Mets in the series opener Thursday, had another two hits and drove in a run against his former team.
Murphy now has 45 hits and 29 RBIs in 29 games vs. the Mets since he joined the Nationals as a free agent prior to the 2016 season and is already well on his way to having the most career hits and runs batted in against the Mets by a player who began his major league career with them.
Tim Foli, whom the Mets selected first overall in the 1968 draft and was dealt to Montreal in the Rusty Staub trade in 1972, had 127 career hits against the Mets (90 before returning to the Mets in 1978 and 37 more after going to Pittsburgh in 1979), the most by any player vs. New York who began his major league career with the Mets.
Preston Wilson, who the Mets selected ninth overall in the 1992 draft and was dealt to the Marlins in the Mike Piazza trade in 1998, had 61 career RBIs against the Mets, the most by any player vs. New York who began his major league career with the Mets.
On Friday night, the Nationals beat the Mets, 7-2. Reigning National League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer struck out 10 and allowed just one run over eight innings as he picked up his eighth win.
It was the fifth time that Scherzer struck out 10 or more in a start at Citi Field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other pitcher has more than three such games against the Mets at their current ballpark.
Hall of Famers Steve Carlton (six), Bob Gibson (five) and Randy Johnson (five) were the only pitchers who had at least five double-digit strikeout games against the Mets at Shea Stadium.
On Wednesday night, the Mets won the rubber game of their three-game series against the Cubs, 9-4. Curtis Granderson’s 300th career home run broke a 4-4 tie in a five-run eighth inning.
Elias noted that Granderson became the 10th player to hit a century milestone home run (number 300 or higher) in a Mets uniform:
• Duke Snider, 400, 6/14/63, at Cin, vs. Bob Purkey
• Dave Kingman, 300, 4/30/82, at SF, vs. Rich Gale
• George Foster, 300, 7/1/84, vs. Atl, vs. Pete Falcone
• Gary Carter, 300, 8/11/88, at Chi, vs. Al Nipper
• Eddie Murray, 400, 5/3/92, at Atl, vs. Marvin Freeman
• Mike Piazza, 300, 7/13/01, vs. Bos, Derek Lowe
• Mo Vaughn, 300, 4/3/02, vs. Pit, Kip Wells
• Carlos Delgado, 400, 8/22/06, vs. Stl, Jeff Weaver
• Gary Sheffield, 500, 4/17/09, vs. Mil, Mitch Stetter
• Curtis Granderson, 300, 6/14/17, vs. Chi, Carl Edwards
Last Tuesday night, the Cubs beat the Mets, 14-3, in the middle game of the three-game series. The last time the Mets had given up at least 14 runs in a game against the Cubs was on March 31, 2003, when Chicago beat New York 15-2 on Opening Day at Shea Stadium.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, homered in his first major-league start and at-bat in the leadoff spot and later drove in two more runs in the blowout.
According to Elias, over the last 30 years, only one other player hit a leadoff home run and had at least three RBIs in his first start as a leadoff hitter: Kaz Matsui for the Mets in his major league debut on April 6 2004, at Atlanta.
Happy Recap: Homer Happy. The Mets have hit 35 home runs in their last 17 games and have now hit 58 of their 104 homers on the road.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: Home Woes. The Mets are 17-23 at Citi Field, the second-worst home record in the majors ahead of only the Twins (14-24).