NEW YORK -- The New York Mets' high-scoring lineup met its match in San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner and the club's eight-game winning streak came to an end Sunday with a 6-1 loss before 39,077 in raw conditions at Citi Field. There's a good chance it's just a blip for an offense that averaged 6.3 runs over the previous 14 games; the hapless Braves are coming to town for a three-game set beginning Monday.
In a batting order littered with hot hitters, Michael Conforto has been the hottest. Though he didn't often play against lefthanded starters last season, manager Terry Collins couldn't resist playing Conforto Sunday because he'd hit .407 with 15 RBI in the previous 14 games.
Before the game, Collins said "we've got to ride him while he's hot" and "he deserves the opportunity to see what he can do against Madison," but he didn't do much. Conforto got three at-bats against Bumgarner -- all with a runner on first -- and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He finished 0-for-5 on the day with three strikeouts and had his eight-game hitting streak snapped.
"Maybe [Bumgarner] had me a little bit off-balance," Conforto said. "But I am confident. I’m not shaking about facing other lefties. I am looking forward to my next chance to face one."
Conforto may have an immediate chance to bounce back. The Braves are slated to throw three righthanded pitchers in the upcoming series.
The Mets put plenty of runners on the bases against Bumgarner (3-2) and couldn't get a run off him in six innings. He stranded nine Mets and held New York to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position over that span. Bumgarner seems to have the Mets number: he is 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in five starts against them.
Noah Syndergaard (2-1) may have looked like the best pitcher in the baseball for the first three weeks of the season, but gave up four runs in 5.2 innings for his second consecutive mediocre outing. He gave up five hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
Syndergaard cruised through the first three innings before the Giants got him for three runs in the fourth on a Brandon Belt run-scoring groundout and a rocket two-run homer to right field by Hunter Pence. He came out with two on and two out in the sixth and reliever Hansel Robles promptly allowed Pence a run-scoring single.
San Francisco added a run in the seventh on an Angel Pagan RBI single and another in the eighth on a Buster Posey solo home run. The Mets lone run came on David wright's run-scoring single in the seventh.
In what has to be an anomaly, this was only the third time this season the Mets faced a lefthanded starter. Conforto did not start in the first and only started the second because Yoenis Cespedes was hurt.
The original plan was to give Juan Lagares. Conforto's hot bat had Collins convinced otherwise. If he stays hot, it will be interesting to see what Collins will do the next time the Mets face a lefthander.
"If he shows us he can start doing some damage against lefties, he’ll get some playing time," Collins said. "We’ll have lefties coming up and we’ll have to pick and choose our spots."