CHICAGO -- Are the wheels coming off a little for the Mets? They have lost four in a row, the last two to the team with the worst record in baseball, after Tuesday night's 5-3 defeat to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Manager Terry Collins gave the Mets a virtual pass for Monday's 6-1 loss because of a case of suspected post-Subway Series letdown and a delayed late-night flight to Chicago.
But the pass expired Tuesday night.
"We've played two bad baseball games here," Collins said. "And we're a better team than what we've played."
The Mets made key mistakes -- one baserunning and one defensive -- and didn't score after the fourth inning. They went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.
"We've got to get it stopped," Collins said. "We've got to turn it around right now. Jon Niese has got to give us a ballgame [Wednesday]. We've got to start playing with some energy, playing with some thought like we have been all season long."
Ike Davis was ejected after appearing to touch first-base umpire Manny Gonzalez with his glove while arguing a safe call on a pickoff attempt in the eighth inning. Collins argued, too, and got his money's worth without being ejected.
The Mets were trailing 4-3 when catcher Josh Thole attempted to pick Steve Clevenger off first for the second out of the eighth. Thole had picked off Bryan LaHair an inning earlier. But Gonzalez called Clevenger safe, which sent Davis into a tizzy and got him tossed. A suspension is possible, but doesn't seem as likely as a fine.
"I didn't say anything too revolting," Davis said. "I obviously didn't mean to touch him. I was just using my hands to gesture. But I didn't say anything crazy."
Reed Johnson followed with a grounder to deep short that Ruben Tejada snared with a slide and threw past Omar Quintanilla at second base. A run scored on the single and error to give the Cubs a two-run cushion. The Mets made three errors in one inning Monday.
"We need to clean it up," Davis said. "We're making a lot of errors."
Not just in the field. The Mets also lost a potential run in the third when Lucas Duda, who was on first base, did not attempt to score on Davis' two-out double into the rightfield corner, even though he was being waved around by third-base coach Tim Teufel. The inning ended with the bases loaded when Daniel Murphy grounded out to first.
"That was my fault," Duda said. "I caught him a little late. That was tough. I picked him up late and that was basically it."
The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the second with a dose of their usual two-out lightning. Four consecutive two-out singles off Randy Wells -- by Scott Hairston, Murphy, Thole and Dillon Gee -- scored a pair.
But the Cubs scored three in the third against Gee (5-6), who allowed four runs in five innings. Alfonso Soriano had a run-scoring groundout before Luis Valbuena doubled in the tying run and Darwin Barney drove in the go-ahead run with a single off the glove of Tejada.
The Mets tied it in the fourth on David Wright's bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Gee's struggles continued in the bottom of the fourth. Anthony Rizzo, a top prospect who was making his Cubs debut, hit a two-out double to center to give Chicago a 4-3 lead.
Gee ended well, at least. He struck out LaHair with the bases loaded to end the fourth and then struck out a pair in a perfect fifth.