NEW YORK -- The team meeting New York Mets manager Terry Collins called following Thursday afternoon's lopsided loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks had the desired effect in terms of the Mets' effort, if not the on-field result, Friday night.
Perhaps the combination of a stirring offense and an ace pitcher on the mound Saturday will allow New York to stop the losing streak that threatens to ruin its season.
The Mets, losers of four straight and six of seven, will look to begin climbing back into contention when they host the San Diego Padres in the middle game of a three-game series at Citi Field on Saturday night.
The Padres hit four homers in the first three innings Friday night and hung on for an 8-6 win. With the loss, the Mets (57-58) fell to 10-20 since July 8 and slipped under .500 for the first time since April 17.
Still, the Mets took some solace in how they came back from deficits of 5-0 and 8-2 to send the tying run to the plate in the sixth as well as from the relief work of Seth Lugo, Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles.
The trio of right-handers combined to retire the final 19 Padres batters after Logan Verrett was torched for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.
"We feel that the turning around is on its way," second baseman Neil Walker said of the Mets, who fell to 24-1 this season when scoring more than five runs. "We hit some balls really hard tonight and did some pretty good things when we got some traffic on the base paths. And after the first several innings, we did a good job of keeping them off the board."
Another positive for the Mets should be the presence of Jacob deGrom on the mound. DeGrom has allowed one run or fewer in six of his last eight starts to lower his ERA to 2.35, the fourth-best mark in the National League.
DeGrom is scheduled to be opposed by Padres right-hander Jarred Cosart, who will be looking for his first major league win in almost 11 months.
Cosart will be making his third start for San Diego, which acquired him from Miami on July 29. He has not won since Sept. 17. 2015.
While deGrom appears to have the edge over Cosart, the Padres (50-65) will hope to draw on the chemistry and confidence they've built over the last two months.
San Diego, which fully embarked upon a rebuilding plan by trading veterans such as James Shields, Matt Kemp, Fernando Rodney, Andrew Cashner and Drew Pomeranz this season, has the second-best record in the NL West (23-23) since June 18.
"It's a different team," said Padres second baseman Ryan Schimpf, who hit a grand slam in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third inning.
"(Not to) take away anything with the other guys, we enjoyed our time with them. (Trades are a) part of baseball. We've got a good clubhouse here. It's fun to come to work with the guys everyday and battle it out and try to get some wins."