BALTIMORE — A week ago, the Mets got a win over a division rival with a Hall-of-Fame ace on the mound. They haven’t won a game since.
The Mets continued their summer slide Sunday at Camden Yards with a 2-0 loss to the AL-best Baltimore Orioles. It completed the sweep for the O’s and left the Mets 0-6 on a six-game trade deadline road trip. The Amazins’ are now a season-worst 11 games under .500 (60-61).
“A really, really tough week,” said first baseman Pete Alonso. “A very tough week.”
With outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Starting Marte sitting Sunday out, about 2/3 of the Mets’ lineup was made up of unproven hitters that have spent the majority of the season in Triple-A. They proved little this week, getting shut out twice in six games. The Orioles limited the Mets to only four hits, three of which came against right-handed starter Kyle Bradish, who only lasted 4 2/3 innings.
The Mets had some opportunities, especially since Bradish walked five hitters, with their best chance coming in the fifth. The Mets loaded the bases to chase Bradish from the game with two outs. Baltimore brought in left-hander Cionel Perez to face former Orioles’ first-round pick DJ Stewart, who was batting cleanup.
Stewart made weak contact on a sinker for an easy out.
Jose Quintana went six solid innings for the Mets, but still took the loss (0-3). The defense behind him didn’t do him many favors. In the fifth, Rafael Ortega misplayed a ball that went for a triple by Jorge Mateo. Then Mark Vientos bobbled a ball at third that allowed Mateo to score.
The manager is hoping this can be a teaching moment for the rookie infielder.
“We talk about all of these things constantly,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Most of the time, these guys know exactly what they did wrong. But we start by saying what we’re thinking, what did we miss and what we can do better. It’s one of those learning curves.”
Catcher James McCann led off the seventh with a double to left field, his third extra-base hit in as many games against his former team. Quintana then gave up a single to Ryan McKenna to put him on third. That was if for the lefty, who threw 92 pitches in only his fourth start of the season. He’s been effective in his first season with the Mets and will be a good piece next season.
“I’m getting more and more comfortable,” Quintana said. “My stuff feels better. I’m changing speeds and all of my strengths are still there. I’ve made some adjustments for the new rules and I’ve been feeling way better the last couple times. Every time I go out there, you want to compete and give the team a chance to win. This lineup was really good, I think it might be one of the best I’ve faced so far.”
Right-hander Trevor Gott took over from there. He got pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn to ground out to Danny Mendick on second base. McCann, who is not known for his sprint speed, broke from third and Mendick froze before flipping the ball to Francisco Lindor. He had plenty of time to throw home and get McCann but failed to make a play.
“We talked on the mound there and said the priority is the play at third,” Showalter said of Mendick’s decision. “He said the umpire was blocking him out. Simple as that. He knew he had a play and he made a mistake.”
Quintana allowed two earned runs on six hits, walked to and struck out six.
“It’s a real reminder of what we might have missed with him,” Showalter said.
Quintana has also wondered what could have been if he hadn’t incurred a freak injury during spring training.
“Who knows,” he said. “This was for sure one of the hardest times in my career.”
After a heavy road schedule through the first half of the season and the first part of the second half, the Mets are looking forward to getting back to Citi Field for an extended home stand.
“Not too good,” Showalter said of the road trip. “We’ve got to turn some things around and people will continue to, hopefully, make use of their opportunities. But there’s a learning curve. It’s painful for them sometimes.
“I feel for them.”