The Mets will try to avoid a third consecutive loss Saturday night, when they continue their four-game series at San Diego.
New York (30-30) entered this series having won seven of nine, averaging 5.6 runs during that stretch, which began one day after manager Willie Randolph’s job appeared to be in jeopardy because ownership had called for him to meet with general manager Omar Minaya.
The Mets’ run has stalled in San Diego, where they have dropped consecutive games to the Padres (26-37) by 2-1 scores. They had seven hits Friday after managing only five the previous night.
Dating to last season, New York has dropped four of games at San Diego, hitting .219 while being held to one run three times in that span.
The Mets will likely need to score more than once with the unreliable Oliver Perez (4-4, 5.70 ERA) on the hill.
The hard-throwing left-hander, noted for his severe control issues, is 0-1 with an 11.91 ERA, nine strikeouts, 14 walks and six homers allowed in 11 1-3 innings over his last three starts.
Perez yielded six runs and five hits, including two homers, with two walks while retiring only one batter in the opening inning of a 10-2 loss at San Francisco on Monday. It was the shortest outing of Perez’s career and the quickest exit by a Mets’ starting pitcher since Tom Glavine lasted one-third of an inning on the final day of last season against Florida, when the Mets lost to the Marlins, missing the playoffs and squandering the NL East title.
“You see it. This was my worst outing of my career,” Perez said Monday. “It’s one of those days you want to forget.”
Perez hasn’t fared well in four starts against San Diego, going 1-3 with a 6.61 ERA.
The Padres, meanwhile, are in position to win a season-high four games in a row. All three of the wins during their streak have come by identical 2-1 scores, as they’ve improved to 10-13 in one-run games.
“I think we are getting some of our confidence back,” said Padres center fielder Scott Hairston, who went 3-for-4 Friday. “Everything has come together for us the past few days.”
San Diego is still having trouble scoring, however, leaving 30 runners on base and batting .152 with men in scoring position during the win streak. The Padres are last in the NL in runs (228) and hitting in RBI situations (.236).
They hope Cha Seung Baek (1-1, 6.75) can show some improvement in his second start after acquiring him from Seattle for reliever Jared Wells on May 28.
Baek struggled in his first start since the trade, allowing four runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday. He made his Padres debut May 30 at San Francisco, when he struck out the side in a perfect 13th inning of relief to earn the victory in a 7-3 win.