PHOENIX — In absorbing a 13-5 drubbing on Wednesday, the Mets again made the cellar-dwelling Diamondbacks look like they should be planning a World Series parade.
Yasmany Tomas led the onslaught, hitting a pair of homers and a two-run triple to finish with six RBIs. He finished with four homers in the series, with at least one in each game. Rickie Weeks Jr. hit a pair of homers of his own to knock in five runs.
The injury-depleted Mets (60-60) — fighting to remain within reach of the playoffs — dropped two of three to the Diamondbacks (50-70). The series loss came after the Mets fell in a three-game sweep to the Diamondbacks at Citi Field last week.
The fading Mets have fallen four games behind the Cardinals, who hold the second wild card spot.
In his first start since rejoining the Mets, Jonathon Niese allowed four runs and two homers in 4 1⁄3 innings. He was pulled after 82 pitches.
“For a guy who hadn’t in six weeks, I thought he threw the ball great,” manager Terry Collins said. “I was very happy with the way he pitched.”
But Niese’s performance certainly wasn’t good enough to spare an offense that managed just two runs in 7 1/3 innings off Zack Godley, who started for the first time since Aug. 3 because he was bumped from the rotation.
On Thursday, the Mets will look like a more complete team when they begin a four-game set against the Giants, whose own free fall has knocked them out of first place in the NL West.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will join the team and is expected to play after being sidelined with a knee injury. Justin Ruggiano will also arrive, giving the Mets a righty bat in the outfield.
And slugger Yoenis Cespedes will also arrive in San Francisco, though he won’t be eligible to be activated until Friday.
“Getting a Yoenis Cespedes back helps everyone,” said Jay Bruce, who went 1-for-5 and is hitting just .185 since his trade to the Mets. “Looking forward to that, looking forward to getting healthy, and hopefully playing with a little more consistency.”
The Mets could use all them help they can get. Neal Walker, the team’s hottest hitter, missed his second straight game with a lingering back issue. But even if he’s healthy tomorrow, he could leave the team at any moment to be at his wife’s side for the birth if the couple’s first child.
“We need to get some guys back,” Collins said. “Obviously, the situation with is big. He could wake up tomorrow and have to fly home.”
Curtis Granderson, whose slump got him dropped to sixth in the order on Wednesday, finished 1-for-4 with a solo shot to make it a 10-run game in the ninth. James Loney went 0-for-5, continuing what has been a steady slide. He began play with a .469 OPS in August. Yet, with the Mets short bodies, he batted cleanup.
Had things gone according to plan this season, Zack Wheeler would have rejoined the rotation a month ago, giving the Mets some much needed depth. But his rehab from Tommy John has been riddled with setbacks, the latest coming on Wednesday when he was shut down for two weeks with a strained flexor tendon in his elbow.
It’s likely that he will not return this season, leaving the Mets to scrounge for a fifth starter.
Niese hoped to make good on his second chance to stick in a big league starting rotation. In 18 starts with the Pirates, he posted a 7-6 mark but a 5.13 ERA, a number inflated by his inability to keep the ball in the park.
For that failure, he was bumped from the rotation. Of all pitchers with a minimum 100 innings, Niese began the day ranked fourth worst in baseball with 1.78 homers per nine innings. He surrendered three homers in his first start with the Mets.
“I’m just going to keep working between starts, make it a little bit better,” said Niese, whose next turn could be skipped because the Mets have a day off on Monday.