And with little margin for error, their two most reliable relievers let a game get away Sunday night that might prove too much to overcome.
Jedd Gyorko came off the bench late and played a big role in rallying the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 victory that damaged the Mets' dwindling playoff chances. They dropped four games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card with 13 to go. Milwaukee is three games ahead of New York.
Finally finished with a very difficult stretch in their schedule that lasted more than five weeks, the resurgent Mets now visit also-rans Colorado and Cincinnati on their final road trip this week before hosting last-place Miami and NL East-leading Atlanta.
"We've got a lot of fight on this team. So I wouldn't count us out yet," pitcher Zack Wheeler said.
Los Angeles moved four games ahead of the Braves for the best record in the National League with 11 to play and closed within one game of the New York Yankees for the top mark in the majors.
"Our depth is really good. But even our starters are really, really good. So it's just a good team from top to bottom," Gyorko said. "A lot of guys that we can rely on in situations, and our depth was proven tonight."
Brandon Nimmo laced an early two-run triple for the Mets, who managed only three hits and wasted an excellent performance from Wheeler.
Alonso, the rookie slugger tied for the major league lead with 47 homers, went 0 for 4 and is hitless in a career-worst 20 consecutive at-bats. He and teammates Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto combined to go 0 for 25 in the three-game series.
"It's been a tough go, but I feel fine," Alonso said. "Just haven't been necessarily capitalizing on some pitches and I need to do a better job at that."
Jansen said he'd been "dragging" his arm too much but has figured out the mechanical flaw that was troubling him.
"Everything worked so much easier," he explained. "For some reason it just clicked."
Dodgers All-Star Walker Buehler was pulled after 71 sharp pitches in an abbreviated October tuneup. He permitted two hits over five innings and retired his final 11 batters after Nimmo's triple.
Wheeler pitched seven outstanding innings for the Mets, and Justin Wilson was summoned to protect a 2-1 lead in the eighth. But the left-hander, who saved Saturday's win with a perfect ninth and had a 1.40 ERA since coming off the injured list July 2, was out of sorts.
He issued a leadoff walk to Gyorko, who was pinch-hitting, and balked him to second when he caught a cleat on the mound. An up-and-in wild pitch that sent Max Muncy sprawling to the ground moved Gyorko to third, and he scored on Taylor's one-out double off the right-center wall.
"Zack pitched amazing tonight," Wilson said. "Sadly, I couldn't hold the lead for him."
Mets nemesis Corey Seager shaved it to 2-1 with a two-out RBI single off Wheeler in the fourth. Muncy scored with a good slide on a close play at the plate.
Kike Hernandez got the Dodgers going in the ninth with a one-out double that left a hole in the wall: Center fielder Juan Lagares knocked open a door panel when he crashed into the left-center fence trying to make a leaping catch.
THAT'S ONE WAY TO DO IT
Alonso got knocked backward at first base on a grounder by Gavin Lux in the ninth but sat up and threw him out from the seat of his pants.
Los Angeles took two of three from the Mets and has won 32 series this season, equaling the franchise record set in 2017. The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11 games at Citi Field and are 19-6 in the ballpark since 2012 -- the best mark in the majors during that span, according to STATS.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner is expected back in the lineup Tuesday and Wednesday against Tampa Bay. He hasn't played since Sept. 7 due to a sprained left ankle. ... Muncy's leadoff single in the fourth was his first hit since Aug. 25, snapping an 0-for-14 skid. He returned Friday from a fractured right wrist that had sidelined him since Aug. 29. Muncy finished 1 for 5 with three strikeouts. ... With two off days this week, the team's top three starters -- Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Buehler -- will all get extra rest before pitching next weekend against Colorado.
Mets: 3B Todd Frazier was available off the bench, manager Mickey Callaway said. Frazier was hit on the left hand by a pitch late in the game Saturday night. ... LF J.D. Davis was hit in the left side by a 96 mph fastball from Dustin May in the seventh. Davis said he had X-rays and he's fine, just a little sore.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (10-8, 3.84 ERA) goes Monday night at last-place Colorado opposite RHP Antonio Senzatela (9-10, 6.87). Matz threw six scoreless innings last time out against Arizona and is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 11 starts since July 16.
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