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Seth Lugo struggles as the Mets drop another to Diamondbacks

Jose Bautista of the Mets is tagged out

Jose Bautista of the Mets is tagged out by Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila in the second inning at Chase Field on June 15, 2018 in Phoenix. Credit: Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen

PHOENIX — Not even Seth Lugo could save the Mets this time.

Lugo, dominant for a month and a half and the winner in the Mets’ only victory this month, allowed five runs in five innings as the Mets dropped another to the Diamondbacks, 7-3, on Friday night. It was their 12th loss in 13 games and 19th loss in 23 games, a stretch that isn’t so much a slide as it is a freefall.

This time it was Arizona righthander Zack Godley (4.77 ERA) who stifled the Mets’ lineup, which has scored three or fewer runs in 11 consecutive games, matching their longest such streak since 1981. Godley struck out eight and allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“We’re slowly coming out of it,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “At the end of the night, it feels like the same old. During the game, it didn’t. We were very close. We had lots of baserunners [Friday night].”

The Mets (28-38) appeared to be hitting Godley hard early, but couldn’t capitalize, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings.

In the second and third, the Mets had runners on second and third with nobody out and did not score.

“We were three ground balls to second base away from scoring five runs off their starter through four innings,” Callaway said. “I thought the intent was there. We just didn’t get the job done.”

The silver lining — not that that is worth much to them at this point — for the Mets again came in the form of a solo home run.

After doubling in the second, Dominic Smith again flashed the power that has been mostly missing for him this year, hooking a down-and-in changeup off the rightfield foul pole in the fourth inning. It was his first major-league homer of the year and first homer at any level since April 11.

“That’s a little glimpse of what I know I can do, what the Mets know I can do,” Smith said. “Just happy I was able to do it [Friday night].”

Smith finished the game in leftfield, his first major-league appearance in the outfield after dabbling there recently with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Lugo’s outing was the worst of his three starts this season, though the bar had been set high with a combined 10 scoreless innings in the first two. He allowed eight hits and one walk, striking out seven. Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso homered, the latter on Lugo’s 99th pitch. Lugo finished at 100 pitches, reaching triple digits for the first time since last August.

“I didn’t have my best stuff [Friday night], but I wouldn’t say I felt much fatigue out there,” Lugo said. “I felt pretty good through the fifth minus my fastball command.”

Said Callaway: “He was a little off. Didn’t have quite the command that we’ve seen, but his stuff was really good. He battled for a long time.”

Goldschmidt’s blast (a towering shot in the first inning) and big night (3-for-5, two RBIs, two runs) amid his big month underscored the gap between the Diamondbacks, the NL West leaders, and the Mets, who are challenging the Marlins for last in the NL East.

Goldschmidt has scored 17 runs and has hit seven homers this month. The Mets — lacking Yoenis Cespedes, who when healthy is the closest thing they have to a franchise slugger — as a team have scored 20 runs and hit 10 homers this month.

Righthander Chris Beck had a poor showing in his Mets debut, allowing one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings. He also walked three and in the seventh exited with the bases loaded. Jerry Blevins bailed him out by striking out Alex Avila.

The Mets rallied in the ninth, getting the potential tying run on deck and forcing Diamondbacks closer Brad Boxberger into the game. Michael Conforto flew out to left to end it, leaving the Mets 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

“The baserunners are coming,” Callaway said. “There’s more and more every night the last couple nights. The last part of it is go ahead and drive those guys in.”

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