It is not exactly a state secret the Mets are immersed in rebuilding the franchise. But there are natural growing pains in the present.
The Mets finished a lost weekend series by being routed by the AL Central-leading Tigers, 11-3, in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. The Mets were swept in the weekend series, and have lost three of their last four.
The Mets, who host the Phillies in a four-game series starting Monday night, were outscored 20-4 and outhit 41-17 by Detroit.
“The Tigers aren’t in the position they’re in without having an outstanding club — good pitching and a dynamic offense,” manager Terry Collins said. “We didn’t capitalize on any situation we had a chance in. We didn’t get a lot of guys on. They obviously pitched us tough. We didn’t swing the bats the way we certainly have been or are capable of. There’s a reason why they’re playing the way they are playing.”
They got started early, as the Tigers led 2-0 three batters into the game after Miguel Cabrera crushed Dillon Gee’s (9-9) 2-0 two-seam fastball into the second deck in left field.
“That pitch in particular we were trying to go down and away, and made a big mistake,” Gee said. “You can’t do that to him. He made me pay for it.”
One of the frontrunners for the AL MVP award, along with Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, Cabrera finished the weekend series having torched Mets pitching for seven hits in 13 at-bats, with five RBIs, three runs scored, two homers and a walk.
“He’s the best hitter in baseball, there’s no question,” Collins said. “Nobody does what he does. He hits the ball to all fields. He hits singles, he hits homers [and] he hits doubles. Tough to get out in any situation.”
Gee entered the game with a 2.45 ERA dating back to May 30, but the right hander struggled against the team with the best record in the AL. He allowed four runs on 10 hits in six innings.
“I didn’t have much command today,” Gee said. “It helps when you can command, too. You’re not behind a lot. I fell behind a lot of guys and [wasn’t] commanding any of the off-speed stuff for strikes. Makes it tough.”
His counterpart, Rick Porcello (10-7), went seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits and walked three.
The Mets began to get to Porcello in third and fourth innings. Daniel Murphy’s broken-bat RBI single in the bottom of the third plated Omar Quintanilla with their first run, and Travis d’Arnaud’s first MLB homer an inning later gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. He drove Porcello’s 90-mph two-seam fastball into the Party City Deck in left. After the homer, d’Arnaud took a curtain call.
“Unbelievable feeling,” d’Arnaud said. “It was an unbelievable experience.”
D’Arnaud’s homer marked the only time in 18 innings spanning the weekend series that the Mets led the Tigers.
It did not last.
Gee surrendered a two-run homer to Andy Dirks in the sixth that allowed the Tigers to retake the lead, 4-3. Dirks pounded Gee’s 81-mph slider into the Mets bullpen for his eighth home run of the season.
“Looking back, it’s not good. He hit a home run,” Gee said. “When he hit it, I wasn’t expecting it [to carry]. He put a good swing on it. He’s a good hitter. I made a mistake and you can’t do that against these guys.”
The Mets did not record a hit off of Porcello or relievers Bruce Rondon and Jeremy Bonderman after Dirks’s homer.
The Tigers broke the game open in the ninth, scoring seven runs off of LaTroy Hawkins (five runs on four hits) and Scott Atchison (two runs on three hits).
“Their lineup is such where you have to make pitches. You have to keep the ball down,” Collins said. “When you see that many line drives that is telling you the ball’s not down, that’s for sure.
“It’s one of those games where you caught them at the wrong time.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.