MILWAUKEE — Just as their rotation has seemingly figured itself out, the Mets suddenly are having a hard time scoring.
In a 3-1 loss to the Brewers on Friday night, the Mets scored in the first inning, when Wilson Ramos lined a two-out single to rightfield. That’s the Mets’ only RBI from a position player since Tuesday, when Pete Alonso’s sacrifice fly gave the Mets a walk-off win.
On Wednesday, the Mets were shut out by Cincinnati. On Thursday, also against the Reds, Noah Syndergaard homered for the game’s only run. And now the Brewers shut them down to open a three-game series.
“Plain and simple, we have to score more runs,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’re just not stringing things together. We’re not getting the big hit when we need it and we’re just not stringing the baserunners and the walks and the hits all together.”
The Mets (16-16) put the would-be tying run on base with no outs in the ninth against Josh Hader, who struck out the next three batters to end it. They stranded seven runners and were hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position after Ramos’ RBI knock. Brandon Woodruff struck out seven in five innings.
That runs contrary how the Mets have played for most of the previous month. Entering play Friday, the Mets averaged 4.84 runs per game — a tick above the league average of 4.6 — which carried the team to a winning-record-or-better as the pitching staff struggled.
But in their past nine games, it’s been 2.56 runs per game — and just two runs in their previous three.
“We all wish we could have done more in the last week or so,” said Michael Conforto, who went 2-for-4. “The pitching has come on pretty strong. It’s one of those things where we have to put the whole things together.”
Steven Matz held the Brewers to three runs in 5 2/3 innings — one out shy of what would have been his fourth quality start in his past five outings. He had no perfect innings, scattered nine hits and one walk and struck out three.
The difference for Milwaukee: a pair of home runs, Lorenzo Cain in the first and Ryan Bryan in the fifth. Braun sent a 2-and-2 sinker over the heart of the plate 443 feet to center for a two-run shot.
"I wish I could get that pitch [to] Braun back,” Matz said. “I really wanted to jam him, get him to ground to short. It was right over the middle of the plate. It was just a bad pitch.”
Notes & quotes: The Mets released catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who was designated for assignment Sunday. They owe him the rest of his $3.52-million salary...Lefthander Luis Avilan left in the eighth with elbow tightness, Callaway said, adding: “Just trying to get loose in the bullpen, didn’t quite get loose. He thought it would get better when the adrenaline kicked in and it just didn’t happen for him.”