SAN FRANCISCO -- Over the past 11 games in 11 days spread across three time zones, the Mets played 111 innings of baseball -- an average of more than 10 per day -- in what would have been a daunting road trip even without all the extras. They were on the field for 40 hours and five minutes, for 3,630 pitches.
By the end of Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Giants, which demonstrated so many of the issues that plagued them throughout the trip, the Mets were understandably exhausted. They were ready to go home.
"I don't make excuses -- it's part of the game, all the innings, all the travel and everything else," manager Terry Collins said. "That's what we do. That's what we signed up for. But we need [an off-day] right now. We're tired. We're beat up a little bit."
Curtis Granderson's two home runs were about the only bright spot Sunday for a Mets team that once again struggled to hit with consistency. His two-run homer in the first inning and solo shot in the sixth -- a splashdown homer into McCovey Cove -- represented the entirety of New York's offense against Giants starter Tim Lincecum, who allowed just four other hits and a walk.
"He's been really good at times; occasionally he has his hiccups," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. "Today I thought he had a nice focus out there. The first inning could've gotten away from him but he regrouped."
Mets starter Zack Wheeler was not nearly as efficient, throwing 86 pitches over 3 2/3 innings. The Giants roughed up Wheeler for a three-run rally in the second inning, which might have been worse had Gregor Blanco not been thrown out trying to stretch his two-run double into a triple with two outs. Brandon Crawford added an RBI single for the Giants, who extended their lead on Michael Morse's run-scoring double play in the third.
"It's definitely not the start that the team needed out of me," Wheeler said, bemoaning his lack of fastball command. "I needed to go deep into the game and not let up any of the runs that I let up. That's all there is to it. I didn't pitch well."
By the fourth, Wheeler was out of the game, forcing the Mets to squeeze 4 1/3 more innings out of a bullpen still feeling the effects of last weekend's extra-inning bonanza -- 57 innings over five days -- in Philadelphia. Lefties Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland were up to the task, but right-hander Carlos Torres cracked for Blanco's run-scoring double in the seventh, before Scott Rice and Vic Black combined to allow another Giants run in the eighth.
The added runs loomed large when Daniel Murphy singled and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth, ensuring that the Mets would lose their sixth straight after opening the road trip with four wins in five tries. Ten of the 11 games on their trip were decided by three runs or fewer, while more than half of them were one-run games.
"It's definitely tough when you're losing by one or two runs all the time," Wheeler said. "But that means that we're close, and we're right on the edge of winning games by one or two runs."
More than anything, Collins said, the Mets just need a break. They have played 21 games over the past 20 days, several of them going extra innings and many lasting well over three hours. The Mets, in Collins' estimation, need to fly home, relax for a night, then reset everything at Citi Field.
"I think that we've done a lot of things to put ourselves in situations to win games," Granderson said. "If we were pressing, we wouldn't even have those shots to be close in the ballgames, to have a chance to have that one swing to put us over [the top]. It's just a matter of baseball being baseball. There are still a lot of games left to be played. Everybody obviously wants to do anything they can to help this team win."