Mets limp home after dropping sloppy series finale to Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- The New York Mets went .500 on their 10-game excursion to Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, but even optimists would have to classify the trip as half-bad.

Rookie Zach Davies retired 17 straight batters at one point and the Mets committed three errors -- four, really -- in a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Sunday’s series finale at Miller Park.

The Mets (34-28) loaded the bases with one out in the first inning against Davies, but James Loney struck out and Wilmer Flores flied out to end the threat. That launched Davies’ gaudy streak of retired batters.

The Mets did not muster their second hit until Kelly Johnson's leadoff double in the seventh. When Loney followed with a single to place runners on the corners with no one out, Davies was pulled. The Mets produced only one unearned run that inning, thanks to Chris Carter dropping a throw at first base on a would-be double-play turn.

The Mets hit .237 (18-for-76) with runners in scoring position on the 10-game trip, although it felt considerably worse. Ten of those hits were bunched in two games.

The Mets' depleted lineup included Johnson batting cleanup and Loney batting fifth. Both were acquired in recent weeks to mitigate the losses of Lucas Duda to a stress fracture in his lower back and David Wright to a herniated disk in his neck.

The Mets also played without starting middle infielders Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker on Sunday. Cabrera had started at shortstop in all but one of the previous 61 games this season and was due a day off. Walker was sidelined after departing Saturday’s game with lower-back tightness.

Meanwhile, Travis d'Arnaud is still a week or so away from returning from a disabled-list stint for a strained rotator cuff. He has been out since late April.

The health misfortune even extended to the manager’s office. Terry Collins was transported to a local hospital less than a half-hour before Sunday’s game after complaining of feeling ill, assistant general manager John Ricco said.

Steven Matz lost a second straight start, marking the first time in his career he has been handed back-to-back defeats. Matz allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits in six innings.

Matz (7-3) contributed to the fielding woes.

In reality, the Mets committed two errors on one play in the first inning as Ryan Braun's grounder went off Flores’ glove at third base and left fielder Alejandro De Aza, who collected the baseball, misfired to second base. Braun advanced to third on what charitably was ruled a double and an E-7.

Matz escaped that jam, but more fielding miscues helped things unravel in a three-run second inning. With the Brewers leading 1-0 and two runners in scoring position, Davies successfully delivered a squeeze bunt to plate Scooter Gennett. Matz fielded the bunt but misfired to Johnson covering first base. The throwing error allowed Keon Broxton to score, too.

"I hurt myself throwing the ball away," Matz said. "It's just part of the game. I've got to make better pitches, really. I just didn't get a good grip on it. The ball just cut. It's tough to snag those when they're down in the dirt like that."

Flores had a throwing error in the fifth for the Mets’ third official error -- and fourth mistake -- of the game.

The Mets clawed to within 5-3 with a two-run eighth that included run-scoring hits by Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes. With runners on the corners after Cabrera walked as a pinch hitter, Flores (0-for-4) flied out as the comeback bid stalled.

"Ten-day road trips are hard," said bench coach Dick Scott, who managed the Mets in Collins' absence. "Our guys get tired at the end of them. I'm sure everybody in the league gets tired. We've got some guys that are playing every day that are banged up. You know what? We'll take a 5-5 [trip]. We had a chance to do a little bit better. I think, all in all, we'll take it. We get to go home now. Guys have a day off. I think it's coming at a right time. We just threw a little bit of a clunker out there early. We came back. We had our chance to get back in the game."

Welcome back: Erik Goeddel tossed a perfect seventh inning in his season debut. Goeddel joined the Mets earlier in the day from Triple-A Las Vegas in place of the demoted Logan Verrett to provide a fresh arm to an overtaxed bullpen.

What’s next: The Mets take a break Monday, then open a homestand with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jacob deGrom (3-2, 2.80 ERA) opposes right-hander Juan Nicasio (5-5, 5.34) in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. ET opener.