- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Rafael Montero arrived in the majors with a reputation for fine control.

In a pair of starts against potent lineups, he hasn’t hit his mark.

“I’m going to find out what he’s trying to do. If he’s trying to pitch to the corners, in this league you’ve got to earn that, you’ve got to earn the corners,” New York Mets manager Terry Collins said.

“Once the umpire knows you’ll pound that strike zone, he’ll give you some stuff.”

Adrian Gonzalez homered off Montero in his second consecutive three-hit game and Yasiel Puig reached base five times to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the skidding Mets 9-4 Tuesday night.

One of the team’s top pitching prospects, Montero (0-2) has walked six and served up three home runs in 10 1-3 big league innings against the Dodgers and New York Yankees, who have the two highest payrolls in baseball.

“I’m not sure,” Montero said through a translator. “I always try to throw strikes.”

Gonzalez connected for a two-run shot in a four-run fifth, when Los Angeles chased the 23-year-old Montero. He threw only 53 of 97 pitches for strikes in 4 1-3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

“He fell behind a lot tonight,” Collins said. “That’s why he threw a lot of pitches. We’ve got to get him to realize he’s good enough to get strike one and go from there.”

Curtis Granderson (three hits) and Lucas Duda homered in the sixth for the Mets, who dropped to 5-13 in May with their fifth defeat in six games. Twice they loaded the bases with one out and came up empty in the opener of a nine-game homestand.

New York (20-24) fell a season-worst four games under .500 and lost for the 10th time in 11 meetings with the Dodgers dating to July 1, 2012.

The teams combined to use 12 pitchers in a yawner that took 4 hours, 8 minutes - a minute short of tying the Mets record for a nine-inning game.

“It seemed like we were on the field the majority of the game and that’s not good,” third baseman David Wright said.

Josh Beckett (2-1) helped himself with an RBI single in his second straight victory after 14 winless starts, but the fiery right-hander left frustrated after failing to get an out in the sixth.

Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe limped off with a right hamstring injury after his ninth-inning double. Puig, who had three hits and scored twice to extend his recent tear at the plate, delivered an RBI single during a three-run ninth.

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