Bartolo Colon's consistently inconsistent streak, sitting on the fence between quality and forgettable outings, continued.
This time, it was a bad one.
Colon, the 42-year-old Mets righthander, was pulled after allowing six runs and 10 hits in 21/3 innings of the Mets' 7-3 loss to the Padres Wednesday night at Citi Field.
Lucas Duda accounted for all of the Mets' scoring, hitting three solo home runs. It was the second time in team history -- and the second time this month -- that a Mets player had hit three home runs in a game. Kirk Nieuwenhuis did it the first time in a win over Arizona on July 12.
Duda crushed a 1-and-2 pitch to rightfield in the second, and went deep again in the sixth and ninth. The first baseman, who had been in a long slump before his recent surge, has six homers in his last four games and 18 this season. It was his fourth multi-home run game this year.
"I was just trying to elevate a pitch and put a good swing on it," Duda said. "I don't go up there trying to hit home runs, I just put a good swing on it."
After the game, a pending trade that was to send Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler to the Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez fell through. All of the in-game drama, when Flores thought he was on his way out of Flushing, would have to be sorted out later.
Colon's brief appearance was his shortest since June 17, 2012, when he was pulled after two innings against Oakland.
The 5-11, 285-pounder hasn't won a game since June 12, but threw eight innings of one-run ball his previous time out against the Dodgers last Thursday. He has a 4.75 ERA in 412/3 innings dating to June 12.
"He lives and dies with command of his sinker and his cutter and tonight he just wasn't making pitches," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Colon has been relied on to provide innings so as not to tax the bullpen. He had done that early in the season but has been more hit and miss as the season has worn on.
Colon surrendered his first run on three straight singles to open the game with Matt Kemp driving in Will Venable.
The Padres made it 2-0 when the next batter, Justin Upton, hit a sacrifice fly.
San Diego added two runs in the second to make it 4-0.
After Duda hit the first of his homers in the bottom half of the inning, Upton and Yonder Alonso hit back-to-back homers to give the Padres a 6-1 lead in the third.
After two more singles, Colon was relieved by Alex Torres.
Padres starter Tyson Ross (7-8), who allowed one run and two hits in five innings, contained the Mets to earn the win. He threw 83 pitches, 47 of them for strikes.
The Mets had totaled 22 runs in their previous three games.
The Mets will try again Thursday with Jon Niese before going to their three young starters: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Collins wants to preserve those young arms.
"Don't be surprised if you see a spot starter here pretty soon to give these guys an extra day." Collins said. "[We'll watch] the workload, trying to give them a day of rest every so often to try and keep them as strong as we can."