NEW YORK -- The Mets believed their winning West Coast road trip might at least be a trend in the right direction, the type of boost they needed to make a late-season run at relevance.
It has not turned out that way. Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs off Chris Young on Wednesday night and the Mets never recovered, falling, 13-0, to the Marlins at Citi Field. It was their third straight loss, their fourth in five games and their 19th in their last 26. It was also their ninth straight loss at home, and in terms of deficit, their most lopsided defeat in more than three years.
"Right now, there's nothing we do that's right," manager Terry Collins said. "This is when you cinch up your belt, reach inside, find out what you're made of, find out who wants to compete for the last 50 games of the season, because those are the guys you're going to want on the team."
Not surprisingly, considering the aforementioned words and statistics, this one was never close. After serving up a two-out solo homer to former teammate Jose Reyes in the first inning, Young walked Carlos Lee and gave up Stanton's first homer, a shot to left field that would not have cleared the stadium's old dimensions.
Two innings later, after laboring through a one-out double, a walk to Reyes and a two-run single to Lee, Young served up Stanton's second two-run homer to a similar spot. The righty departed after that, having allowed seven runs over 4 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks.
"Last year, I had the opportunity to see him play from the other side," Reyes said of Stanton. "Now we're on the same team. It's unbelievable. I feel like every time he goes to home plate, he's going to hit a home run."
"The second home run he crushed," Young said. "The first one, he didn't even get and he still hit it out -- he's that strong. Hopefully next time I face him I've got a better idea of what I want to do, but it wasn't well-executed tonight."
Sporting a tweaked lineup against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi, the Mets put the leadoff man on base in five of the first six innings to no avail. They were unable to take advantage of Eovaldi's six walks and four hits -- that's 10 baserunners in all -- over five innings. And for the second straight night, they could not take advantage of Miami's bullpen either.
"We're not getting the timely hit," catcher Josh Thole said. "We're not pitching well. We're just not getting good baseball."
Though Ruben Tejada performed his best Reyes impression, reaching base safely to lead off the first, third and fifth innings, his progress around the diamond stalled sooner each time. In the first inning, Tejada made it as far as third base before his teammates stranded him. In the third inning, he made it to second base. In the fifth inning, he never advanced beyond first, and in the seventh inning, Tejada did not even make it that far.
And so as the Mets fell to their worst loss of the season, boos rained down all the while. Fans at Citi Field booed Reyes as he came to bat in the first inning, then again when he homered off Young. As has become their custom, they booed Jason Bay before and after he grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. And they booed Andres Torres when he misplayed Bryan Peterson's eighth-inning hit into a three-run triple.
Flushing fans have seen more than their share of these types of struggles, considering the Mets have not won a game at Citi Field since July 7. On the season, they have lost more home games than they have won, a disturbing trend for a team that reconfigured its outfield dimensions in the hopes of catering a bit more to its hitters.
Then again, Mets fans have rarely seen anything quite like this. The team had not lost by 13 runs since dropping a 15-0 game to the Yankees on June 14, 2009. Wednesday also marked the second-most lopsided home shutout in franchise history, three runs shy of Atlanta's 16-0 rout in 1999.
"We need to pitch better," third baseman David Wright said. "We need to hit better. There's a lot of facets of the game that we're not doing very well right now, and the result is losing games."
But games like this happen, Collins said, in his attempt to put a cheerful spin on the night. If anything, the Mets were more upbeat following Wednesday's loss than they are after most defeats, considering the sheer size of the deficit. They laughed it off, if only because they had no other recourse.
"It's one of those nights where you just forget about it," Collins said, "and we're going to reach in the bag of tricks tomorrow to try and find some energy."