All of a sudden, Dillon Gee looked like a scatter-armed kid out there.
Normally so poised and polished on the mound, the New York Mets rookie walked six batters in the first three innings of a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night, sending him to his first defeat of the season.
“I couldn’t locate the fastball, and that’s what it all comes off of. If you can’t locate the fastball, you’re probably not going to do very well,” Gee said. “I don’t really care about the wins and losses. They come and go. But the frustrating part is I really didn’t give us a chance tonight.”
Josh Outman threw another impressive game, Jemile Weeks scored three times and the resurgent A’s walked their way to an early lead at Citi Field.
“I’m really concerned, because we have not played well at home since April,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Gee (7-1) was all over the place in a matchup of promising young pitchers. He walked his first two batters, and a single by Coco Crisp loaded the bases.
Hideki Matsui hit a sacrifice fly and Conor Jackson drove in a run with a groundout.
Gee walked Weeks and Cliff Pennington again in the third, and two more free passes soon followed. Sweeney’s infield single made it 4-0.
Trying to become the first Mets rookie to win eight straight decisions, Gee walked six in the first three innings. His previous career high for a game was four.
New York won all 10 of Gee’s previous starts this season.
The lone bright spot for the Mets was Jason Bay, who finally showed his old pop at the plate. Bay hit a long homer in the sixth to make it 7-2, his first extra-base hit in 25 games and 89 at-bats_ the longest drought of his career.
It was Bay’s first home run since May 13 at Houston, and theformer slugger wasn’t done. He added an RBI triple in the eighth that might have cleared the center-field fence if not for a leaping Crisp, who knocked the ball back into play.
New York shortstop Jose Reyes went 0 for 5, leaving him with two hits in his last 17 at-bats.
Looking to ride their luck as long as possible, the A’s have been wearing their gold alternate jerseys throughout the winning streak. Equipment manager Steve Vucinich even brought them to New York secretly, hid them away all afternoon and then sprang the surprise after batting practice.
Outman (3-1), who wears No. 88, lived up to his pitcher-perfect name, allowing two runs _ one earned _ and four hits in six innings while wearing old-school, dark green stirrups stretched high over his yellow socks.
Balfour retired Josh Thole on a bases-loaded grounder to end the eighth, then finished for his second save as the last-place Athletics took the series opener, an interleague rematch of the 1973 World Series.
Oakland improved to 7-4 under interim manager Bob Melvin, who took over when Bob Geren was fired June 9.
In the offseason, Melvin interviewed for the Mets’ managerial job that went to Collins.