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Morning Briefing: Mets sinking toward .500

NEW YORK --

FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets are sinking perilously closer to .500, where they have not been since April 12.

After getting no-hit by rookie Chris Heston on Tuesday and watching ace Matt Harvey give up a career-high-matching seven runs on Wednesday, the Amazin’s now will try to avoid getting swept by the San Francisco Giants in Queens for the first time since 2002.

Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.43 ERA) opposes right-hander Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.29) in Thursday’s 7:10 p.m. ET series finale.

The Mets now own a 31-29 record. They are a half-game behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.

THURSDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Harvey allowed a career-high three homers and failed to record at least three strikeouts for the first time in his career. He ultimately was charged with seven runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings as San Francisco beat the Mets, 8-5. Afterward, Harvey insisted he is healthy, but struggling with location. He refused to use a hangover as he returns from Tommy John surgery as an alibi for his recent struggles (7.20 ERA in his past four starts). Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Travis d'Arnaud went 1-for-4 with a double in his first game since April 19. Danny Muno was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. That left the Mets with two outfielders (John Mayberry Jr. and Darrell Ceciliani) and two backup catchers (Anthony Recker and Kevin Plawecki) on the bench. And Plawecki was unavailable because of dizziness. Manager Terry Collins said the Mets will remain with this bench imbalance until Dilson Herrera is activated from the DL within a few days. The Mets nearly had to be creative in the infield Wednesday. Eric Campbell was kneed in the neck while retiring Brandon Crawford at third base on an attempted triple. Campbell shook off the issue and remained in the game. Collins said Plawecki underwent an MRI and CT scan late Wednesday afternoon for his recurring dizziness. The manager said the team expected to learn more on Thursday. The Mets expedited d’Arnaud’s return to the majors because of Plawecki’s situation. Read more in the Journal and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • The Mets completed the draft on Wednesday with rounds 11 through 40. Among the picks: UConn second baseman Vinny Siena (14th round), St. John’s sidearm-throwing right-hander Thomas Hackimer (15th) and Columbia right-hander George Thanopoulos (35th). Read more at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Bobby Parnell was due to rejoin the Mets on Wednesday, but was not immediately activated.

  • Despite reports in the Daily News and Newsday linking the Mets to trade talks with the Milwaukee Brewers -- and specifically about third baseman Aramis Ramirez -- a team source reiterated to ESPN.com what was reported Tuesday: There is nothing brewing and the Mets are uninterested in Ramirez.

  • Columnist David Lennon in Newsday suggests Harvey cannot "cheat the toll demanded from others by Tommy John surgery."

  • Gabriel Ynoa allowed eight runs in three innings and Binghamton lost at Bowie, 9-4. Luis Guillorme and Wuilmer Becerra drove in two runs apiece in a seven-run third as Savannah won its eighth straight, 8-6 at West Virginia. Read the full minor league recap here.

  • Heston celebrated his no-hitter on Tuesday night by going back to his hotel room and watching highlights on “SportsCenter,” he tells Zach Braziller in the Post.

  • Ex-Met Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels. Nieuwenhuis hit .136 (3-for-22) with one RBI for the Halos.

  • From the bloggers … Faith and Fear salutes Howie Rose's call of Heston's no-hitter. … Mets Report theorizes about Harvey’s struggles. … Blogging Mets believes a trade for Ryan Braun could work for the Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Jose Reyes turns 32. ... Ex-Met Frank Thomas was born on this date in 1929.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

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