After a weekend that saw the Dodgers recapture first place, they fell back to earth by losing two of three to the lowly Mets.
The Dodgers dropped the ball both literally and figuratively as their defense let them down in a 7-3 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger homered for the playoff-contending Dodgers, who lost for third time in their past 12 games. Los Angeles finished with just three hits.
"Any big league team is still hard to beat on any given day," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "We looked forward to winning the series today, but Zack threw a good ballgame today. We now have to go up to Colorado and play good baseball."
Muncy now has 32 longballs on the year, good for second place in the National League.
Wilmer Flores had a pair of RBI singles and Amed Rosario got three hits for the Mets, who went 5-4 on their road trip to Wrigley Field, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Wheeler (10-7) retired the first 11 batters he faced before Justin Turner hit a liner in the fourth inning that struck the pitcher. The exit velocity on Turner's ball was clocked at 91 mph.
Wheeler got a visit from the Mets' medical staff and gave up a home run to Muncy three pitches later. Overall, he allowed three runs and three hits, striking out nine and walking two.
It was the first time Wheeler gave up more than two earned runs since July 14. He is 8-1 with a 1.86 ERA over his last 10 outings.
Flores singled home a run in the fourth and another in the fifth. Austin Jackson and Rosario also had RBI singles.
Muncy hit his 32nd home run and Bellinger connected off Wheeler for his 22nd.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2) gave up five runs — three earned — on 11 hits over six innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. It was the second time in three starts Ryu had given up 11 hits.
"The way he threw the baseball was better than the line score," said Roberts. "When you're facing a guy like Wheeler you have to play clean baseball and we really didn't give us a chance to do that today."
In was an unsarcastically sloppy defensive game for the Dodgers as right fielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop Enrique Hernandez and second baseman Brian Dozier all had balls bounce off their gloves for hits. Catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped a throw to the plate that let another run score.
It was the first series loss to the New York Mets since Fourth of July weekend in 2015 when they took two of three games in Los Angeles.
Dodgers: RHP Kenley Jansen is not expected to travel to Colorado this weekend after a team cardiologist recommended he not pitch at altitude after suffering an irregular heartbeat episode in Denver last month. . RHP Ross Stripling (lower back inflammation) threw 34 pitches in a simulated game, plus more in the bullpen, and is expected to come off the disabled list Saturday at Colorado.
After an off-day Thursday, Mets LHP Steven Matz (5-11, 4.20 ERA) is scheduled to open a three-game series at Citi Field against the Phillies. Matz is coming off a career-best 11 strikeouts Saturday at San Francisco. After an off-day Thursday, Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.40) will open a three-game series at Colorado where he is 9-4 in 20 career starts with a 4.65 ERA.