Oliver Perez struggles once more

Besides the lack of offense from their big hitters, the Mets also didn't get the starting pitching they've grown accustomed to the past three games on Wednesday night. Oliver Perez went just five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits. He threw 97 pitches in those five innings.

The Mets need Perez, and fellow starter John Maine, to go deeper in games. Perez pitched 6 1/3 innings in his last start, which was a good one -- he gave up only one run, and got a no-decision. Remarkably, Perez only pitched as deep as 6 1/3 innings in one game all of last season.

Still, Perez left Wednesday night's game with the Mets trailing just 3-1.

"[Perez] got hit relatively hard, but he still gave us a shot," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after the game.

BULLPEN BLUES: The Mets' bullpen has been outstanding overall this year -- it came into the game third in the major leagues with a 2.11 ERA. But that ERA will increase considerably after the bullpen surrendered six runs in four innings of work on Wednesday.

Manny Acosta (called up from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day) and Hisanori Takahashi gave up three runs apiece. Raul Valdes also pitched 2/3 of an inning.

LEARNING CURVE: Ike Davis went 1-for-4 in his third major league game. On one hand, he made a great play in the field in the first inning, extending over the railing into the Mets dugout to catch a foul pop-up, almost falling on his head in the process. But he also struck out with a man on third in the eighth inning, when he had a chance to extend a Mets rally.

"Today was the easiest day for me, mentally," Davis said after the game. "I felt more, you know, accustomed to the field. So, today was a step in the right direction for me. But it doesn't really matter when you lose."

WRIGHT NUMBERS: David Wright may be struggling to get hits, but he's doing some other things really well. He now leads the major leagues in walks with 19, and he has six stolen bases, one off the major league lead.

"I'm glad that I'm finding a way to get on base, even though I don't feel as comfortable as I want to feel up there [at the plate]," Wright said.

MISSING PERSONS REPORT: Wednesday night's paid attendance -- 25,684 -- was the smallest crowd since Citi Field opened last season.