NEW YORK — David Wright refused to make excuses for two lethargic losses to Miami. Still, he's looking forward to a brief break before the rival Yankees come to Citi Field for a tantalizing three-game series between teams making a playoff push.
"There's going to be days where we get outplayed and today we got outplayed in every area of the game," Wright said. "I think the off day is coming at a good time."
Entering with an 8 1-2 game lead over Washington in the division, manager Terry Collins chose to rest his left-handed hitters against Conley, a 25-year-old lefty. With reserve outfielder Juan Lagares leading off, the Mets were shut out for the first time since July 23, and they lost consecutive games for first time since losing to Boston on Aug. 28-29.
The Nationals cut the lead by a game with a 12-2 victory at Philadelphia. New York's magic number for the division title remained 10.
"We had such an emotional high going coming out of Atlanta," Collins said. "I think you're seeing a little bit of a drainage. ... I think we need to just get away for a little bit."
Facing a makeshift lineup of all right-handers, Conley (4-1) had the best start of his young career in front of his wife and infant daughter. He allowed three hits and struck out six as Miami beat New York for a second straight night to secure its fifth straight series win — matching a franchise record set in 2003 for most consecutive series won in one season, according to STATS.
"The thing for me that makes me the most proud is that these guys are playing the game the right way," manager Dan Jennings said on his birthday. "I think all any manager ever wants is for your team to step up and play the right way. It shows a pride factor and it creates fun. They're having fun. We're having fun right now. We realize that we're not playing for the postseason but at the same time we're playing to get ready for 2016."
Dee Gordon went 2 for 5 with a ninth-inning RBI to finish the season series against the Mets hitting .427 (35 for 82).
All was quiet a night after Collins vowed the Mets will "answer in our own due time" to star Yoenis Cespedes' getting hit by a pitch by Tom Koehler in the first inning of a 9-3 loss that ended an eight game winning streak.
Colon (14-12) was lifted with two outs in the sixth after walking Pablo Ozuna, the first free pass he allowed to a Miami batter in 55 innings dating to last season.
Colon allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
"I was feeling good, thought I was executing well, but they attacked early and made some good swings," Colon said through a translator.
ON THE BENCH
Jennings made the switch from the general manager's suite to the dugout in May, and now that his first season as a manager is nearing an end he took a moment to reflect on what he's learned in leading the last-place club to a 46-61 record.
"Definitely not easier," he said in comparing his new job to the old one. "When you sit upstairs the losing doesn't grind you near as much as it does in the dugout. ... There is a new-found respect and appreciation for these guys and what they go through and the grind, living the grind of actually playing 162."
Mets: RHP Carlos Torres (strained left calf) was scheduled for a bullpen session that he would throw at 50 percent. Collins said Torres is still a "few days off from pitching in a game."
Marlins: RHP Jarred Cosart (1-4) starts the opener of a series at Washington. He's given up one run in 9 2-3 innings over his last two starts.
Mets: Matz (3-0) will make his fifth career major league start. Collins isn't worried about the playoff-like atmosphere the lefty from Long Island will experience. "I don't think he's going to be intimidated by anybody," he said.