- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) - It was a rough start for the New York Mets’ six-man rotation.

Just activated from the disabled list, Dillon Gee got little help from his defense Wednesday night and was chased in the fifth inning of a 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

After missing nearly a month with a strained right groin, Gee (0-3) allowed seven runs on eight singles in four-plus innings. But three Mets errors, including his own wide throw to the plate, led to three unearned runs.

“It was just a bad night,” Gee said. “They squared up a lot of balls. The ones that they didn’t even square up, fell in. It was just one of those nights.”

New York manager Terry Collins had another explanation.

“There is nothing wrong with Dillon,” Collins said. “He kept the ball in the ballpark. He didn’t give up any homers. They put some balls in play and if we make a couple of plays behind him, I don’t think the outcome is the same.”

James Shields pitched seven solid innings to remain unbeaten, and the Padres won a home series for the first time in a month.

With Gee’s return from the DL, the Mets have decided to deploy a six-man rotation. The move is designed to limit the number of innings thrown by young starters Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey.

But Gee and the Mets were no match for Shields (7-0), who cruised through five innings, permitting just one runner to reach second base.

The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits overall. He struck out four, walked two and used three double plays to avoid major damage.

With the victory, Shields set his personal best for consecutive wins to start the season. He began 6-0 with Tampa Bay in 2006.

Fill-in third baseman Ruben Tejada made two of New York’s errors, and Gee hit a batter with a pitch with the bases loaded.

“We didn’t make some plays behind him and get him out of trouble,” Collins said. “He’s around the plate and they’re going to put the ball in play. You have to catch the baseball when he pitches.”

The Padres took two of three from New York to win their first home series since sweeping a three-game set against Colorado from May 1-3.

San Diego ran its record against the Mets at Petco Park to 26-14, its best winning percentage against a National League club.

The Padres have lost only one series (9-1-2) to New York since Petco Park opened in 2004.

Will Middlebrooks drove in three runs, including a sacrifice fly in the first when the Padres used Tejada’s throwing error, a walk and Yonder Alonso getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to go ahead 2-0.

Middlebrooks also had a two-run single in the three-run fifth that knocked Gee from the game.

After trailing 7-0, the Mets brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth. But slugger Lucas Duda grounded out with the bases loaded against Craig Kimbrel to end it.

RECORD CHASE

Shields still has a ways to go to tie the Padres record for consecutive wins to start a season. Andy Hawkins went 11-0 to open the 1985 season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: LF Michael Cuddyer (sore neck) was held out of the lineup.

Padres: RHP Brandon Morrow (right shoulder inflammation) made his first rehab start Tuesday night with Double-A San Antonio. Morrow threw 54 pitches in four scoreless innings with one walk and no strikeouts.

UP NEXT

Mets: Harvey has lost three consecutive decisions, tying his career high, heading into the opener of a four-game series at Arizona on Thursday night.

Padres: After a day off, RHP Tyson Ross will try to win for just the second time in 10 starts as the club opens a seven-game road trip Friday at Cincinnati.

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