NEW YORK (AP) -- Jerry Manuel's first week as New York Mets manager mirrored the tenure of predecessor Willie Randolph -- up and down, with some encouraging performances and a few letdowns.
And Manuel already seems frustrated by the Mets' erratic play.Raul Ibanez homered and drove in three runs, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tossed seven sharp innings and the Seattle Mariners blew out New York 11-0 Tuesday night.
• The Mariners improved to 7-1 all-time vs. Mets with wins in seven straight meetings.
• R.A. Dickey, who was 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA this season, threw seven shutout innings.
• It was the Mets worst home shutout loss since getting mauled by the Braves 16-0 in 1999.
• Richie Sexson, who had no RBIs in his last 14 games, had three in this game.
-- ESPN.com research
"Right now we're just a bad offensive club, period," Manuel said.Richie Sexson had three RBIs and Kenji Johjima hit a two-run shot for Seattle, which took advantage of a shaky Oliver Perez to boost its AL-worst road record to 13-25. The Mariners also improved to 7-1 all-time against the Mets."Kenji, along with Richie, they've battled," said manager Jim Riggleman, who took over the Mariners when John McLaren was fired Thursday. "They've had some tough times, but are swinging the bats better."Dickey (2-3) allowed six hits and struck out five to earn his first win as a starter since Sept. 18, 2005, for Texas against Seattle. He also improved to 2-11 in his last 19 starts.Dickey said he talked to Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield on Monday night, and a little help from his fellow knuckleballer helped him lower his ERA from 5.77 to 4.79."I hope I can be consistent," Dickey said. "I had a good knuckleball. I was able to take the spin off it, threw it for strikes."A little consistency is also the objective for New York, which absorbed its second consecutive loss since coming home from an eventful road trip. A couple of Mets lost their tempers, too, as Manuel and slugger Carlos Beltran were ejected.Promoted from bench coach to replace the fired Randolph last week, Manuel said before the game that Perez was tough to figure out and cracked afterward that he was better than an in-game entertainment number involving fans dancing on the dugout. "That was about it," the manager said."I'm definitely concerned about his struggles right now and we're going to have to address it at some time," Manuel said later. "We'll have to seriously address it."Perez could skip a turn or be dropped from the rotation altogether, but Manuel declined to elaborate on the team's plans.Johjima, who entered with a .218 batting average, hit a 2-1 pitch from Perez into the visitors' bullpen in left to give Seattle a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Johjima's two-out drive was his third of the year and scored Sexson, who was aboard after a one-out single.Perez (5-5) struck out Willie Bloomquist to get out of the inning, and the Shea Stadium crowd booed as the left-hander made his way to the dugout."Just a bad day," he said.Perez allowed six runs, five earned, and seven hits in five innings. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last seven starts.Sexson hit sacrifice flies in the first and sixth, then doubled in a run in the ninth. The big first baseman, who entered with a .210 average, went 2-for-3.After taking consecutive called strikes to begin the fourth, Beltran started talking to plate umpire Brian Runge, who took off his mask and continued the dialogue before he brushed dirt off home plate. Manuel then came out and started arguing. Runge appeared to bump into the manager before throwing him out of the game."I thought he did step into me," Manuel said. "I did not step into him but I felt that he stepped into me."Manuel walked to the bench as the crowd roared. Beltran continued the conversation and Runge quickly tossed him, too. An incensed Beltran then got in Runge's face and had to be held back before Manuel came out to escort him to the dugout."He really bumped Jerry to get him an excuse to throw him out of the game," Beltran said, "and I just let him know that that was weak, the move that he did, you know just being able to do that and he throws me out of the game."This is the first time that I've been so angry in my career."Runge declined comment after the game.Mark Lowe replaced Dickey in the eighth and got six outs to complete the eight-hitter, Seattle's fourth shutout this season. The Mets were blanked for the second time.Seattle won consecutive road games for the first time since April 17-18 in Oakland."I think guys are going out there and playing hard, playing the game right," Ibanez said. "The approach is better."New York played without All-Star third baseman David Wright, who got a rare day off. Wright was the only major leaguer to play every inning this season, though he made one start as a designated hitter.
New York designated RHP Claudio Vargas for assignment and recalled RHP Carlos Muniz from Triple-A New Orleans after the game. ... Riggleman said RHP Felix Hernandez (sprained left ankle) still hopes to make his next start. ... The Mets agreed to a contract with first-round draft pick Ike Davis and assigned the former Arizona State first baseman to Class-A Brooklyn. He gets a $1,575,000 signing bonus.