After hearing that Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought in a magician to help his slumping club, manager Terry Collins was asked Wednesday night if he had anything in mind for the Mets.
"I brought in a witch doctor," Collins joked. "Clean up the clubhouse. Get all the bad spirits out of there."
And this after the Mets had lost just one game after a four-game winning streak. But the team is not scoring runs -- other than when Steven Matz is at the plate -- and that disturbing trend continued last night in an agonizing 2-0, 11-inning loss to the Cubs before 23,906 at Citi Field.
The Mets, who lost, 1-0, on Tuesday, wasted seven shutout innings by Bartolo Colon and saw a botched suicide squeeze in the eighth ruin their best chance for a precious run.
A double play that was not turned in the 11th led to Chicago's runs. even though the Cubs gave the Mets an out with a baserunning blunder.
The Mets have not scored in 20 innings. They have been shut out nine times and held to one run 11 times in 79 games.
There doesn't appear to be any immediate help on the way as Sandy Alderson continues to methodically appraise a trade market that has yet to develop. So it's left to Collins to try suicide squeezes and suggest that before Thursday's game he's going to shake up the batting order.
"We've got to flip-flop some guys somehow," Collins said. "If just to do nothing but shake it up a little bit."
Collins tried the suicide squeeze in the eighth and it went very, very badly.
Ruben Tejada had reached on Starlin Castro's throwing error to open the inning. One out later, Daniel Murphy doubled in the leftfield corner with Tejada stopping at third.
With the count 0-and-1 on pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani, Collins called for the squeeze.
"He's a good bunter," Collins said. "He's a very good bunter."
Ceciliani had 15 sacrifice bunts in his minor-league career, including seven in 2011. But he's still looking for his first as a big-leaguer as he bunted through the pitch. Tejada was hung up between third and home.
Murphy took third as Tejada was chased back to the base by catcher Miguel Montero. With Murphy standing on the base, Tejada ran through the bag. Third-base umpire Chris Guccione initially called Murphy and Tejada out. But after the umpires conferred, they correctly ruled that only Tejada was out on the 2-5-2 caught stealing.
Ceciliani struck out to end the inning. Boos filled the stadium, as they would three innings later when the Cubs scored their runs.
Castro's two-out, infield hit off Carlos Torres (2-4) drove in the first run. With runners on first and third, Castro hit a slow roller to third. Murphy charged and threw on the run, but Castro beat it by a step as Anthony Rizzo scored.
Dexter Fowler led off the 11th with a walk. Rizzo hit a potential double-play ball to short, but Wilmer Flores -- in his third game at second since switching from short -- bounced the relay throw to first. Lucas Duda could not make the scoop.
"That's on me," said Duda, who went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. "I pick it nine out of 10 times. That's my fault."
Three batters later, Castro singled in the go-ahead run. Montero's bases-loaded single off Sean Gilmartin made it 2-0.
The Mets got the tying runs on in the bottom half, but Kevin Plawecki struck out looking to end it.
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