NEW YORK -- Don't try to do too much. That's the message that manager Terry Collins has for his players as the Mets work through their first extended losing streak of the season.
Collins, presiding over a five-game skid, doesn't want to see his players pressing, and he's concerned that the losses could snowball into something bigger. The Mets have dropped eight of nine games since the beginning of May, and four of their last five defeats have come by one run.
That peculiar brand of adversity continued in Saturday night's game, which saw the Mets erase two deficits before falling to a 5-4 loss against the Phillies. The Mets now find themselves in last place in the National League East, and Collins wants to arrest the slide before it gets worse.
"What ends up festering is guys think they've got to take it upon themselves to be the guy to stop something," said Collins. "You don't. You just have to be a part of it. Each and every guy has got a job to do, and if they do it, at the end of the day, we'll take our chances."
The Mets (16-19) found themselves behind early, thanks to a difficult beginning from Dillon Gee. Gee, who had cobbled together a career-best 16 straight scoreless innings heading into the game, gave up two runs in the first inning and another in the second to put his team behind.
The Mets came back from both of those holes, using a two-run homer by David Wright in the first inning and a game-tying double from their third baseman in the sixth. Rookie Eric Campbell would even push the Mets ahead on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but the Phillies scored twice to steal the endgame.
Philadelphia veteran Chase Utley doubled home the game-tying run in the seventh inning, and he singled to push the potential winning run to third base in the ninth. That brought cleanup man Ryan Howard to the plate, and he singled to center field to give the Phillies (17-18) a late lead.
"It's pretty frustrating," said Collins. "The guys have done a good job of getting on and getting in scoring position, but we've been unable to get a productive out or push across an added run here or there to change the outcome of a lot of situations and a lot of games. If you look at what's happened here the last 10 days, we just haven't been able to execute on the offensive side the way we want to."
Gee came into Saturday having allowed just two earned runs in his previous 27 innings, and the Phillies jumped on him early. Gee allowed five of Philadelphia's first six batters to reach base in the first inning, but he escaped with the bases loaded and rebounded to salvage his outing.
Wright's homer -- his first in 33 games -- tied the game in the first inning, but Gee allowed a solo homer to Jimmy Rollins to put Philadelphia back in the lead. The right-hander retired 13 of the next 16 batters he faced, though, and wound up leaving with a one-run advantage after six innings.
"I pride myself trying to get deep in games, even games like tonight where I really don't have good stuff at all," said Gee. "I just try to find a way to get through it, and I want to try to get deep for the bullpen. It takes a toll on these guys to throw as much as they do. And with having an extra-inning game last night, I definitely wanted to try to get as far as I could. But I don't make those decisions."
Collins pulled Gee after just 81 pitches, and he said he elected to go to the bullpen because he didn't want to push Gee through the batting order for the fourth time. Southpaw Scott Rice gave up three hits and the tying run in the seventh inning, and closer Kyle Farnsworth took the loss.
Farnsworth came into the game in the ninth inning and got two quick outs, but then he wound up walking Rollins. Rollins, who had three hits, moved to third base on a single by Utley, and Howard -- batting against the Mets' infield shift -- dumped the game-winning hit into short center field.
"It's definitely disappointing," said Rice of the late-game action. "The good thing is we're in every game. We're not getting blown out. We're scoring enough runs and we're staying in every game, and we just need to tighten up as a pitching staff. Eventually, we're going to start winning these games."
Campbell, called up earlier in the day by the Mets, had an eventful big league debut. The youngster made his first plate appearance with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, and he pushed the Mets ahead with a sacrifice fly to right field on his first swing. Campbell would later come up again in a tie game in the eighth inning, but this time he struck out with two runners in scoring position.
"It was a real up-and-down day," said Campbell. "I was on a high after I got that RBI, and then I was put in the same situation again in the eighth inning and didn't produce. That's baseball."
The Mets haven't had a five-game losing streak since August of last season, and their bullpen fell to 0-5 with a 4.39 ERA in May. Jon Niese will be matched against Cole Hamels in Sunday's series finale, and Collins is hoping that his team can rebound to avoid a series sweep.
"We've struggled offensively from the start," said Collins. "What's surprising is we've pitched so well and given ourselves so many good chances. Getting off to the way the game started and fighting back, we've just been unable to get those extra runs added on. ... We've still got a long way. We are what we are because we haven't hit, and we're going to start hitting."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.