TORONTO - In recent years, the Mets had searched for reasons to explain their inability to win on their home field. At one point, they even revamped their pregame preparation, all in hopes of a turnaround that has finally materialized this season.
But now that the Mets have seemingly cured their Citi Field blues, they find themselves lost whenever they're away from home.
Consider Thursday night's 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays, a defeat in which competence eluded the Mets in virtually every area of the game.
Second baseman Dilson Herrera and shortstop Wilmer Flores each failed to make routine plays that led to runs. Bartolo Colon got battered for seven runs (six earned) in one of his worst starts of the season.
And R.A. Dickey, the one-time Mets Cy Young Award winner, dominated a befuddled lineup. He surrendered one run over 7 1/3 innings in his first matchup against his former employer since being traded in the winter of 2012.
Only Lucas Duda's solo homer in the eighth kept the Mets from absorbing a shutout for the second straight night.
That storm of imperfection led to the Mets' 13th loss in their last 16 road games. Away from Citi Field, the Mets are 10-21, one of the worst records in all of baseball.
"It's pretty basic," manager Terry Collins said before the game. "We aren't hitting real good on the road and we don't have an answer for it. The preparation is exactly the same."
At home, where the Mets are 26-11, they have scored 150 runs in 37 games. But in 31 road games, they have scored 95 runs, the fewest in baseball.
Against Dickey and his knuckleball, the Mets looked overmatched.
Collins started John Mayberry Jr. partly because he and Curtis Granderson were the only two Mets to have faced Dickey previously. Going with a veteran lineup might help, the manager hoped.
"If you're a young kid, R.A. can put you in a funk," said Collins, whose team didn't collect its first hit until the fifth inning, when Juan Lagares doubled.
Dickey (3-6, 4.96 ERA) walked five but struck out seven while holding the Mets to three hits. The lone run came on Duda's 10th homer.
But it came after the Blue Jays had already blown the game open against Colon (9-5, 4.81, whose tough night was only compounded by the shoddy defense behind him.
The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the second when Herrera failed to glove a routine grounder by Chris Colabello. Later, third baseman Ruben Tejada couldn't make a clean play on a potential double play, and Kevin Pillar's single scored Colabello.
The Blue Jays busted the game open in the fourth, tacking on five runs against Colon, who was once again betrayed by his infield.
This time, Flores was the culprit. Pillar hit a liner toward Flores, who began to jump, only to realize that the ball hadn't taken off as he'd expected. The ball hit off Flores' glove and rolled away, allowing the Jays to keep their rally alive.
Pillar factored in once again, breaking up a potential double play by sliding hard into Flores. Jose Reyes, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista each added run-scoring hits.
In the fifth, Colabello hammered a solo shot off Colon, who failed to deliver a quality start for the first time since May 20.