NEW YORK (AP) — Zack Wheeler followed up the best outing of his brief career with his worst.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run double, Brandon Moss had a two-run homer and the Oakland Athletics jumped all over an ineffective Wheeler in the first two innings of an 8-5 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
"He struggled with all of his pitches," manager Terry Collins said. "I have never seen him get hit that hard."
Coming off a three-hitter in a 1-0 win at Miami last Thursday, his first complete game in the majors, the 24-year-old Wheeler had command problems right away. He missed badly with his first two pitches in the first inning to Moss, who drove the next one deep into the second deck in right field for his 18th home run.
Wheeler (3-8) issued a leadoff walk to Josh Reddick in the second and another free pass after Coco Crisp's RBI single. Cespedes followed by lining a bases-loaded double down the left-field line to make it 6-0.
Convinced the A's were picking up signs, Wheeler called catcher Travis d'Arnaud out to the mound and struck out the next two batters.
"They were onto my signs in the second. It's my fault for not catching onto it sooner. The next few pitches after we changed them up were good. When somebody turns on a 96 mph fastball, they probably knew it was coming," Wheeler said. "It was just a bad outing."
When the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom half, Wheeler was lifted for a pinch-hitter. He was tagged for six hits and a career-high six earned runs in two innings, the shortest of his 33 career starts.
"I'm already over this, to be honest with you. It's time to get ready for my next start," Wheeler said. "They just had me, that's all."
After the Mets scored 21 runs in their previous two games, Oakland rebounded from its most lopsided loss of the season to split the two-game interleague series — boosting the best record in baseball to 48-30.
Wheeler's dud ended a weeklong run of stingy starts by New York pitchers
"He just didn't bounce back. He didn't have it going tonight," Collins said. "He left a lot of balls in the middle of the plate."