NEW YORK (AP) — There was a lengthy era in New York Mets history when their fans would dread the opening of the bullpen door. Over the past few months, though, it's become a welcome and reassuring sight with relievers shutting down opponents.
But an unsettling image of past failures echoed at Citi Field on Monday when both Jeurys Familia and closer Jenrry Mejia surrendered key runs that cost the Mets a 4-3 decision to the San Francisco Giants.
Familia, who had gone 13 straight relief appearances since June 30 without permitting an earned run, didn't retire any of the four batters he faced in the seventh inning as the Giants scored the tying run.
Mejia, the Mets' sixth pitcher of the afternoon, had allowed just one earned run since June 18 until he surrendered what proved to be the winning run in the ninth.
"I was real surprised," Mets manager Terry Collins said after the pair couldn't save it for starter Dillon Gee, who left with a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
"But we said, when you talked about how good they were pitching, that they're not perfect, that there's going to be a hiccup here and there. And today was that hiccup," he said.
Familia was greeted by a triple by Hunter Pence that glanced off the glove of leaping left fielder Chris Young in a near-collision with center fielder Juan Lagares at the wall.
After Gregor Blanco walked, Familia threw a wild pitch that made it 3-all. Pablo Sandoval followed with a single, but Lagares nailed Blanco at the plate for the only out Familia got while on the mound.
Sandoval drove in three runs with three hits, and he tagged Mejia (5-4) in the ninth. Blanco singled with two outs and stole second and, after Buster Posey drew his fourth walk of the game, Sandoval sliced an RBI double that bounced into the seats along the left-field line.
San Francisco took three of four while the Mets dropped a home series for the first time since June 10-12 against Milwaukee.
"Not every day's going to be good," Mejia said. "They got Familia and they got me."
Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer in the first for the Mets and scored on David Wright's infield single in the fifth for a 3-2 lead.
Collins wasn't around to see the final two innings. He was tossed by home plate umpire Ben May after arguing balls and strikes in the seventh.
"I thought the ball to Dan (Murphy) was low, but the ball to Lucas (Duda) was quite obviously low," Collins said. "And it's one of the things you try to say, Hey this is a big part of the game here. These guys are paid to swing the bat. They don't want to walk.' If that pitch is that close, Lucas Duda would have been swinging. And that's my version of it. Nicely."
Sergio Romo (5-3) got the win with one scoreless inning and Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save.
NOT QUITE WRIGHT
Wright is 5 for 32 in his last eight games and has just one extra-base hit in the past 17.
"He said to me the other day, I know I've got to get it going,' and he's working at it," Collins said before the game. "As I said before when he went into a slump earlier in the year, when they (stars) get out of it, big things happen. The one thing you've got to do is ride this thing out, and he's going to fix it."
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Lagares had a career-tying three hits, along with his assist throwing out Blanco at the plate. Lagares hit .440 (11 for 25) on the homestand.
New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. threw out the first pitch.
Mets: Matt Harvey, who threw off a mound Friday at Citi Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last October, is scheduled to do the same Tuesday at the team's spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Mets: New York begins a three-game series Tuesday night in Washington. Mets righty Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60) faces Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88). The Nats have won five of six meetings against the Mets this season. They meet 13 times in the final eight weeks.