Rapid Reaction: White Sox 6, Mets 3

What it means: For the Mets (and their fans), it's back to reality.

A night after Matt Harvey had the sports world buzzing by nearly pitching a perfect game, the Mets lost to the Chicago White Sox, 6-3, in front of a sparse crowd at Citi Field.

The Mets fall to 13-17 -- in fourth place in the National League East, 5 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta.

The White Sox rise to 14-18, but remain in last place in the American League Central, six games behind first-place Detroit.

On the mound: Jeremy Hefner is still winless on the season, dropping to 0-4 with a 4.63 ERA. But he has pitched better of late. And to be fair, he was a victim of some bad luck on Wednesday.

Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a home run to right field. But the White Sox were very fortunate to score three runs off Hefner in the third inning. Of Chicago's four hits in the frame, only one -- Alex Rios' RBI double in the right-center field gap -- was hit well. De Aza had a bunt single, Alexei Ramirez had an infield single, and Conor Gillaspie hit a pop-up to shallow center that landed in between three defenders, driving in a pair of runs.

Also, Hefner received just one run of support on offense, for the third consecutive game.

Hefner went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts and one walk (intentional). Scott Atchison gave up Chicago's fifth run in the seventh inning, on three consecutive singles. And Jeurys Familia gave up a long solo homer by Rios in the ninth.

At the plate: Chicago's Jake Peavy missed his last start because of back spasms, but he handled the Mets with relative ease on Wednesday. After accumulating just five base hits -- all singles -- in 10 innings on Tuesday, the Mets had just seven on Wednesday.

Lucas Duda's went a long way -- into the second deck in right to lead off the bottom of the second inning, temporarily tying the game at 1-1. Marlon Byrd, pinch-hitting for Hefner to lead off the bottom of the sixth, smacked a double down the left-field line, but was stranded at second. Mike Baxter had an infield single in the seventh.

The Mets scored their second run in the eighth, off reliever Matt Thornton -- Ruben Tejada led off with a bloop single, and came around to score on pinch-hitter Justin Turner's single, aided by an error by the right fielder, Rios.

Baxter also had a one-out triple in the ninth, and scored on a Tejada single. The Mets did bring the tying run to the plate with two outs, but Juan Lagares struck out to end the game.

It's gettin' ugly: The Mets now have just three hitters batting above .253 on the season -- David Wright (.298), Daniel Murphy (.275) and part-timer Turner (.372). Ike Davis is now at .170 after going 0-for-4 on Wednesday. Duda homered, but also struck out three times, and is at .239. Even John Buck, who got off to such a wonderful start, has seen his average dip to .236 after going hitless in three consecutive games.

What's next: A four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates here in Queens, beginning Thursday night. Dillon Gee (2-4, 6.16) will be on the mound for the Mets, opposed by lefty Jeff Locke (3-1, 3.21), first pitch at 7:10 p.m.