Mets general manager Sandy Alderson began Friday afternoon with an emphatic directive for his sub-.500 club. Just win, baby.
“We need some more wins. We’re 10 games under .500, and we need to see improvement in our win-loss record almost immediately,” Alderson said before the start of a three-game series against the Dodgers.
So much for motivational speeches.
Cody Bellinger’s grand slam highlighted a 5-2 Dodgers win, sending the spiraling Mets to a season-high 11 games under .500 (31-42), in front of 32,565 at Citi Field.
Starter Zack Wheeler (2-6) was pitching well until the top of the sixth, when he issued consecutive walks to open the inning.
After the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out, 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Bellinger socked a no-doubt grand slam into the second deck in right field on a 0-2, 96 mph Wheeler fastball. Yasiel Puig added an insurance run in the ninth with a solo homer off reliever Chris Beck.
“I had (Bellinger) 0-2, just where I wanted him,” Wheeler said. “I was trying to bury it in there, underneath his hands. He made me pay for it.”
The Mets missed scoring opportunities all night.
In the bottom of the second, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out. But Amed Rosario’s grounder to third was deftly scooped up by former Met Justin Turner, who fired home for the force out on Michael Conforto. Wheeler then struck out to end the inning.
Turner made another nifty defensive play in the fifth with two men on and two outs, fielding Todd Frazier’s scorching grounder on two bounces, and then firing across the diamond for the final out. Frazier slammed his helmet to the ground, but it bounced and hit him in the face.
In the bottom of the eighth, Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy muffed a Conforto chopper with one out and Asdrubal Cabrera on first. Cabrera slid safely into second as Muncy dropped the ball, and while Muncy aired his frustrations after the error, Cabrera shrewdly advanced to a wide-open third base, since Turner was moved in a defensive shift. But Jose Bautista grounded into an inning-ending double-play to squelch the threat.
Conforto made a leaping, back-handed snare on a Joc Pederson line drive in the top of the third for the third out. Conforto belly-flopped onto the warning track dirt after making the catch. Brandon Nimmo also made a diving catch of a Turner sinking line drive in the sixth with two on and no outs.
Bautista clubbed his third homer of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth off Dodgers lefty starter Alex Wood (3-5).
PLAY OF THE GAME
Joc Pederson smoked a line drive with two outs in the top of the third and a runner on third, but Michael Conforto made a leaping, backhanded catch at the warning track.
Zack Wheeler’s consecutive walks to open the sixth. The Dodgers eventually loaded the bases and Cody Bellinger swatted a grand slam.
STAR OF THE GAME
Bellinger. His 13th home run of 2018 gave the Dodgers the lead they would not relinquish.
STAT OF THE DAY
Zero. The number of wins Zack Wheeler has at home in 2018. He is 0-5 in seven starts at Citi Field.
Dodgers starter Alex Wood. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.
Todd Frazier. The third baseman was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.