SAN DIEGO (AP) — It’s not that New York Mets starter Dillon Gee pitched poorly, he just wasn’t as good as San Diego Padres counterpart Tyson Ross.
Ross shut down the surging Mets’ bats in a strong seven-inning performance, and the Padres snapped the Mets’ four-game winning streak with a 6-0 victory on Saturday night.
In his second start since a lengthy stint on the disabled list, Gee (4-2) lasted only five innings – his shortest outing of the season. He allowed four runs, including two on mistake pitches that the Padres hit for home runs. A bad throw from outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis brought in another run.
Gee struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
“He was pitching good,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “His stuff was good. He finished up strong but again this isn’t about one guy. You have to hit, that’s the name of the game.”
The Mets were challenged there, unable to break through against Ross and three relievers.
Gee wasn’t as impressive as he was in his first start since a strained right lat sidelined him for two months. Last week against Atlanta, Gee worked seven innings and surrendered one run and six hits.
On Saturday he was looking for his second straight win and fourth in five decisions.
“I wasn’t locating well for a while,” Gee said. “I pitched behind guys, and that makes it tough when I do that. Good pitchers have to really locate when they’re throwing 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, 2-1, stuff like that.”
Gee’s previous six starts produced a 1.35 ERA and at least six innings of work in each outing.
But the Padres had a rare offensive night as Yasmani Grandal, Will Venable and Seth Smith homered. San Diego won for the third time in 11 games; the Mets had won nine of 11.
“There were some good swings on good counts,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
Ross (8-10) allowed only four hits in seven innings. He struck out six and issued three walks.
“That’s why he’s on the All-Star team,” Collins said.
Ross didn’t surrender a hit in the first four innings. His bid to throw the first no-hitter in Padres history was derailed by Travis d’Arnaud’s four-hopper that ricocheted off third base for an infield single.
The Mets were stymied by Ross’ mid-90s fastball, a tight sinker and a biting slider.
“He had a great sinker and of course that plus-slider,” Collins said. “He had some good changeups.”
New York didn’t have a runner reach scoring position until the seventh when Lucas Duda singled, Nieuwenhuis walked, and Juan Lagares singled to load the bases. But Ruben Tejada struck out to end the threat.
Gee was stranded on first after a two-out walk in the second inning, and d’Arnaud was erased at second on a double play after his single in the fifth.
Pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr. walked with one out in the sixth inning, but was thrown out by Grandal when he tried to steal second. Curtis Granderson followed with the Mets’ second hit, but Daniel Murphy grounded out to Ross.
Smith’s homer in the sixth pushed the Padres ahead 5-0.
“I definitely want to try to get deeper into games,” Gee said. “There’s really no excuse for it, it was just a night I lost it there for a while.
“I couldn’t locate, I couldn’t repeat the mechanics. On the positive side I felt good the way I finished and hopefully I can continue that on my next start.”
The Mets were shut out for the second time by the Padres, and for the eighth time this season.
NOTES: After Friday’s trade of RHP Huston Street to the Angels, RHP Joaquin Benoit will become the Padres closer. RHP Kevin Quackenbush is the top candidate to work the eighth inning. … RHP Andrew Cashner, who is on the DL, threw on Saturday as he tested his sore right shoulder and neck. … SS Everth Cabrera (strained left hamstring) has resumed running and could play in a minor league game next week. … Mets RHP Jon Niese (left shoulder strain) is expected to start on Monday at Seattle. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka is working out of the bullpen with the expectation that Niese will rejoin the rotation. … Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90) faces Padres RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) in Sunday’s series finale.