TORONTO - In recent years, the Mets had searched for reasons to explain their inability to win on their home field. At one point, they even revamped their pregame preparation, all in hopes of a turnaround that has finally materialized this season.
But now that the Mets have seemingly cured their Citi Field blues, they find themselves lost whenever they're away from home.
Consider Thursday night's 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays, a defeat in which competence eluded the Mets in virtually every area of the game.
"We're playing a little sluggishly," Terry Collins said. "We've got to find some energy."
Second baseman Dilson Herrera and shortstop Wilmer Flores each failed to make routine plays that led to runs. Righthander Bartolo Colon got battered for seven runs (six earned) in one of his worst starts of the season.
And R.A. Dickey, the one-time Mets Cy Young Award winner, dominated a befuddled lineup. He surrendered one run over 7 1/3 innings in his first matchup against his former employer since being traded in the winter of 2012.
Only Lucas Duda's solo homer in the eighth kept the Mets from absorbing a shutout for the second straight night. Until the homer, the Mets had gone 21 straight innings without a run, equaling a season high.
The Mets' storm of imperfection led to their 13th loss in their last 16 road games. They're now 10-21 on the road.
"Obviously we didn't score too many runs in these two days," Michael Cuddyer said. "But I don't know if we were sluggish or if he we just didn't produce, or whatever word you want to give it."
The Mets looked overmatched against Dickey and his knuckleball, failing to record a hit until Juan Lagares doubled in the fifth. Dickey (3-6, 4.96 ERA) walked five but struck out seven while holding the Mets to three hits. The lone run came on Duda's solo shot, his 10th homer of the year.
"He was effectively wild," Cuddyer said.
Meanwhile, Colon (9-5, 4.81) endured a tough night, which was only compounded by the shoddy defense behind him.
The Jays took a 1-0 lead in third because Herrera failed to field a Chris Colabello grounder. He later scored when the inning was extended thanks to Ruben Tejada, who couldn't make a clean pick-up on a potential double play.
In the fourth, the Blue Jays put the game away with a five-run inning, this time after Flores botched a Kevin Pillar liner that was hit right at him.
"It knuckled at the end and I lost it," said Flores, who might have been able to double up a runner had he made the catch.
Later, Pillar helped extend the Jays' inning once again, breaking up a potential double play by sliding hard into Flores.
In the fifth, Colabello hammered a solo shot off Colon, who failed to deliver a quality start for the first time since May 20. "The balls were hit hard," Colon said through a translator.
The road doesn't get any easier for the first-place Mets, who continue an eight-game swing against the Braves Friday.
At home, the Mets have scored 150 runs in 37 games. But in 31 road contests, they have scored just 95 runs, the fewest in baseball. They totaled just one run in dropping two games to the Blue Jays.
Said Collins: "We need to reach down inside and pick up the energy level a little bit."
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.