Mets RHP Rafael Montero lost for the third time in his last four starts by allowing a season-high three home runs in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Citi Field.
Montero allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, surrendering solo home runs to Marcus Semien in the first inning, Khris Davis in the fourth inning and a tie-breaking shot to Matt Chapman in the seventh inning.
"I need to keep the ball a bit lower," Montero said through an interpreter, according to the New York Post's Brian Lewis. "That's really where I got into some trouble and there was damage done against me. When those home runs occurred it was because I kept the ball too high."
Manager Terry Collins attributed Montero's problems to keeping his sliders up in the zone.
"He threw well, but the two hanging sliders killed him. Those are the things we talk about when you're a young guy and they have the mindset of pound the zone, pound the zone,'' Collins said of Montero, who hadn't allowed a home run in the majors since May 17. "But once in a while, you've got to go out of the zone, and certainly in a close game you get hurt two outs nobody on."
While Montero started the season 0-4 with an 8.24 ERA, he is 1-3 with a 3.34 ERA in seven appearances (four starts) since he was promoted back to the majors in mid-June.
"Since he came back," catcher Rene Rivera said, "he's concentrated on attacking the zone more, and throw more strikes, got more confidence in the fastball. He's been doing that the last three starts."