Carlos Torres excelled in a spot start on no rest. The Mets' bats, well, they appear to have taken the week off.
Torres threw five shoutout innings in place of Bartolo Colon, but New York extended a streak of getting four hits or fewer to a fifth straight game in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
"It's really a tough assignment, especially when he pitched yesterday," Collins said of Torres' effort. "We just couldn't give him any help."
The Mets had four hits — including Lucas Duda's 22nd homer — against Kyle Hendricks and two relievers, and they totaled just 16 hits in splitting the four-game series with Chicago. The five-game run matches the club's longest streak. New York also went five games with no more than four hits in 2004 and 1963.
The only time since 1914 the Cubs gave up four or fewer hits in four straight games was in 1983.
"It's just execution," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "You've got to go up there and do what we've done in the past when we were a good offensive team, and the only way to get back to that is to get a few hits and feeling good about yourself."
The 41-year-old Colon had to return to the Dominican Republic, where his mother was sick, forcing the durable Torres to make his first start since Sept. 27. He yielded three hits.
Colon's winter ball team, the Cibao Eagles, confirmed later Monday Colon's mother died.
The Mets will place Colon on the bereavement list and recall right-hander Gonzalez Germen from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday.
Torres became the first pitcher to start on no days' rest since the Angels' Billy Buckner did it June 25, 26 last year. Torres threw nine pitches in facing two batters in the Mets' 2-1 loss Sunday.
The right-hander allowed three hits, struck out six — including the side in the first — and walked two on 84 pitches.
"Just pound the zone. It's all you can do," Torres said.
With Torres out, the Cubs rallied to help give Hendricks his fourth straight win.
Luis Valbuena, who had three hits, had a tying single in the sixth. Anthony Rizzo connected off Buddy Carlyle (1-1) in the eighth for his 28th homer. Javier Baez then hit a two-run shot in the ninth off closer Jenrry Mejia into the second deck in left field for his fifth career homer.
Hendricks (5-1) gave up just three hits in seven innings.
Neil Ramirez struck out two in a perfect eighth and Hector Rondon allowed a leadoff double but finished the four-hitter for his 18th save.