Things you should know about today's game...
1) Daniel Murphy's first-inning grand slam and Ryan Zimmerman's two-run shot in the eighth extended the Mets' losing streak to four games for the second time in nine days.
2) After allowing the first three batters to reach and the slam to Murphy, Zack Wheeler surrendered one hit and two walks with four strikeouts over his final six innings. He worked a season-high seven frames and was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks while fanning six.
3) Michael Conforto went 3-for-4 and hit his second leadoff homer of the series. Neil Walker slugged a two-run shot to cut the Nats' lead to 4-3 in the third.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
An ugly end to an ugly series and an even uglier week. As a fan, this stretch is maddening and really hard to stomach. The Mets are a much better team than this, and as I said yesterday, injuries don't help...but they're also not the driving force behind this slide. It's not fair to get on the offense tonight considering they scored three runs off Max Scherzer, but collectively, the team just cannot get out of its own way.
Terry Collins is fond of saying the Mets are not a small-ball team. And he's right, but that doesn't mean you don't try different things when you are in a rut like this. Wheeler looked good after the first inning, which admittedly was full of unlucky breaks until Murphy hit the grand slam. I really didn't expect him to look as good as he has coming off of a two-plus year hiatus, but he's been solid.
I don't want to hear panic from the Mets...and we won't. But I also am getting sick of hearing "we'll be fine" and "it's early." I tend to believe the former and the latter is most definitely true, but actions speak louder than words. Get out there and do it instead of telling reporters after the game how you know the worm will turn. Three games below .500 on April 23 is not good, nor is it a death sentence, but it's just getting tiresome to watch this team sleepwalk night after night. >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
News and notes...
The Mets have lost eight of nine overall and are 10-27 against the Nationals at Citi Field since 2014. It was Washington's first sweep in New York since Aug. 12-14, 2014.
Walker's two-run homer was just the Mets' eighth with runners on base. They've hit 21 solo home runs.
Conforto is 5-for-12 (.417) with three solo homers in his career against Max Scherzer.
Wheeler completed seven innings for the first time since Aug. 27, 2014. The loss dropped his career record at Citi Field to 6-12 in 23 starts.
The Mets' starters have posted a 3.31 ERA in the club's last eight losses.
Mets leadoff hitters were batting .101 coming into the game before Conforto's three hits on Sunday.
Yoenis Cespedes was in the on-deck circle to pinch hit when Jose Reyes flied out to end the game.
Murphy is hitting .386 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 22 games against the Mets.
The Nationals bullpen did not allow a run in eight innings during the three games.
What they said after the game...
Terry Collins on getting Cespedes back: "I think getting Ces back will make all the difference. We've been unable to get the one big hit when we've needed it."
Wheeler on his start: "Anytime you lose and put the team down early it's not fun. I had to go out there and bare down and put up zeroes and give our team a chance to win."
Walker on the temperature of the team: "You try not to freak out. That's the absolute worst thing you can do  games into a season. ... We know we're not playing great. ... It wasn't a good series any way you put it. There is not going to be any finger pointing in here. We know we need to be better."
With their second four-game losing streak in a little more than a week in tow, the Mets (8-11) are off on Monday before closing out their homestand with three games against the equally struggling Braves (6-12) at Citi Field on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Robert Gsellman (0-1, 5.09 ERA, 1.358 WHIP) is coming off his best start of the season after he allowed three runs in seven-plus innings in New York's last win on Wednesday against the Phillies. The right-hander has a 4.76 ERA and is winless in three career appearances (two starts) against the Braves.
Atlanta will try to end a six-game losing streak behind Julio Teheran (1-1, 3.52 ERA, 1.435 WHIP), who surrendered seven runs in four innings in his last start. The 26-year-old tossed six scoreless frames against the Mets on Opening Day, but was not involved in the decision. That outing lowered his ERA against the Mets to 2.21 in 16 career appearances (15 starts).