WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets entered Tuesday’s contest as the second-best-hitting club on the road in the majors with a .268 average, but they couldn’t generate much offense against lefty Cory Luebke, whose six strong innings keyed the Padres' 6-1 win in San Diego.
Two first-inning runs were all Luebke (5-6) and the Padres needed to defeat Jon Niese (11-10), who hadn’t lost a decision on the road in five consecutive outings. Niese was tagged for three runs and 10 hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked none. Though he started with a shaky outing in the first while hindered by shaky fielding behind him -- Niese threw 30 pitches in the inning -- he ultimately allowed one run over the next five innings. Still, his early woes cost him.
“They didn’t hit the ball particularly hard. They just kinda hit them where we weren’t,” Niese said. “It was just one of those games. I tried to execute all of my pitches and I didn’t think they put any good swings on my pitches, but they found the holes. Unfortunately, that first inning just kinda added up.”
Meanwhile, Luebke limited the Mets to three hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked three. The only run he gave up was an RBI double to Ruben Tejada in the fourth that scored ex-Padre Scott Hairston. But the Padres bullpen allowed Luebke’s effort to stand up.
HOW DO METS SPELL RELIEF?: They couldn’t in this affair. Pedro Beato allowed two runs, including a towering home run to Cameron Maybin, and three hits after relieving Niese in the seventh. Then, Mike Pelfrey -- in his first relief appearance since that 20-inning game in St. Louis in April 2010 -- relieved Beato and promptly gave up a run on two hits in a third of an inning. Pelfrey was getting a tune-up after being forced from a start in Arizona in the fifth inning after getting struck in the right elbow.
STREAK ENDS FOR PAGAN: Leadoff hitter Angel Pagan had his nine-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-3 effort. Pagan had entered the game batting .366 with three doubles, two homers and three RBIs during the streak, which started on Aug. 6.
LOOKING TO END DROUGHT: The Mets will need a win on Wednesday to clinch its first series win at Petco Park.
LOOKING BACK: On Aug. 16, 1996, the Mets dropped a 15-10 decision to the Padres in a contest played in Monterrey, Mexico.
WHAT’S NEXT: In Wednesday's series finale, Dillon Gee (10-4, 4.07) faces Mat Latos (6-11, 3.80) at a 6:35 p.m. ET.