Mets manage seven hits, but still fall to A's

Mets leftfielder Eric Young Jr. catches a fly
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Mets leftfielder Eric Young Jr. catches a fly ball hit by the Oakland Athletics' Stephen Vogt in the first inning of their interleague baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Oakland, Calif.(Credit: AP / Eric Risberg)

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OAKLAND, Calif - Consolation, as meaningless as it was, came in the form of Wilmer Flores' double that touched the turf just inside the leftfield line.

The Mets had entered their game against the Athletics Tuesday night with four hits or fewer in each of their last five games. In a single season, no team since 1900 had gone six straight with four hits or fewer.

Flores' double, which came in the seventh inning of a 6-2 loss, gave the Mets their fifth hit. With it, they had dodged becoming a part of oddball history. That's about all they accomplished.

"It's been a rough stretch for a little bit," said Travis d'Arnaud, whose solo shot to the opposite field highlighted an otherwise dreary offensive night. "But it's baseball. You just try to keep our heads up and try to keep fighting every day."

The A's (74-51) have struggled to score since dealing power-hitting slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for postseason ace Jon Lester. They entered on a five-game losing streak, their longest skid of a season in which they have emerged as one of the best teams in baseball.

Against the Mets (59-68), their bats came to life.

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Coco Crisp hit a three-run triple off Dillon Gee, whose second-half slide continued, and Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer against Gonzalez Germen.

Gee was chased after allowing four runs and eight hits in just 52/3 innings. In seven starts since the All-Star break, Gee is 0-5 with a 5.57 ERA.

"He's a better pitcher than what's going on right now," manager Terry Collins said.

Gee has been prone to bouts of sudden ineffectiveness. This time, it came in the fourth, when the A's seized control with a four-run outburst.

Crisp cleared the bases with a triple down the rightfield line. The rally began when Alberto Callaspo lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Stephen Vogt and tied the score at 1.

Said Gee: "All of a sudden I just lose all consistency with the breaking ball."

A more potent offense might have helped to cover up Gee's rough inning. But the Mets, who had seven hits, have totaled only four runs in their last three games, all losses.

With the Mets mired in a historic cold streak, Collins shuffled his lineup.

"I just thought we'd change it up a little bit," he said before the game. "It's not like we're mashing right now."

With slumping second baseman Daniel Murphy out of the lineup -- he had been due for a rest day -- Collins moved Curtis Granderson down to the second slot from his typical spot in leadoff. Juan Lagares took Granderson's place atop the lineup.

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Against lefthander Scott Kazmir, Collins went with the righthanded hitting d'Arnaud at designated hitter, with backup catcher Anthony Recker starting behind the plate.

D'Arnaud hit his 11th homer in the fourth to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Recker smacked a double against reliever Ryan Cook to score Flores in the seventh..

Two runs were hardly enough.

The Mets paid a heavy price for squandering opportunities against Kazmir (14-5), who held the Mets to one run and four hits in six innings.

The former Mets prospect sidestepped trouble after allowing a pair of baserunners in the first, when he got a bit of help from outfielder Brandon Moss, who snagged Lucas Duda's liner to left, stifling a rally.

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Kazmir needed a double play to escape a jam in the second when the Mets had runners on the corners.

Said Collins: "We've got to certainly put together more than two hits in an inning."

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