LOS ANGELES -- The 13 runners left on base in Tuesday's 6-0 loss to the Mets were nothing new to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
"That's kind of been our story," said Mattingly, whose Dodgers fell to a season-low 13 games under .500 by dropping their fourth straight. "We've done that quite a few times -- being able to get guys out there and having trouble getting that hit."
The current seven-game homestand against the Mets and Padres was supposed to serve as the Dodgers' last opportunity to fight their way back into contention before next week's All-Star break. Instead, they have started it with a pair of losses, in neither of which they put up much of a fight.
From the onset Tuesday, their lineup was without right fielder Andre Ethier, a National League candidate for the All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint. Ethier had a 103-degree fever and received IV fluids before the game, then was sent home to rest.
In his place, Aaron Miles batted third for just the second time in his career, but he was hit square in the right elbow by a Mike Pelfrey fastball in the fifth inning. He was removed before the seventh inning and after the game he was taken for X-rays, which he said appeared to be negative.
"I tried to stay in the game, but I wasn't throwing very well, and it would hurt the team if the play came to me," said Miles, who isn't sure yet if he can play on Wednesday. "I had to get out of there. It's real sore. It sounded loud. It felt like it got pretty much the whole elbow."
The Dodgers finished 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and the lone hit only managed to get the runner to third base.
Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran best summed up the Dodgers' recent play by downplaying the victory.
"L.A. is not playing good baseball either," he said. "It's good that we're winning, but at the same time, we're playing a team that has a worse record than us."
As Mattingly said, the biggest reason for that last-place record was on display in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Starting pitcher Ted Lilly was stranded in the third after he roped a double to left-center and went to third on a single by Tony Gwynn. Consecutive groundouts by Rafael Furcal and Miles ended that threat.
An inning later it was Lilly, who ended a bases-loaded threat with a weak grounder to first. Earlier in the frame, Matt Kemp had been thrown out at the plate on a shallow double when the throw came into second base. He was out by several steps, and not even a crafty hook slide to his right stopped Mets catcher Ronny Paulino from applying the tag.
But the Dodgers' best chance came in the fifth, when, for a fleeting second, Dodger Stadium came to life -- the Los Angeles offense appearing to have done so as well.
Then Juan Uribe's bases-loaded bullet to center field landed in Angel Pagan's glove, and the brief cheers turned to sighs.
"That's got a chance to change that inning if that ball gets a gap or something," Mattingly said. "But it seems the way things have gone."
Mattingly said the way things have gone recently -- just 13 runs in their last seven games after scoring 15 last Monday in Minnesota -- has led to plenty of frustration in a Dodgers clubhouse that is growing increasingly somber after games.
"I'm sure there is [frusrtration]," Mattingly said. "Those guys, there's been a lot of work put in to being the best club we can be, and when you keep falling short it's frustrating. But there's nothing else you can ask besides guys getting ready to play."
And the Dodgers were the aggressors early, getting runners on base, while Lilly cruised through four innings. Then one defensive mistake swung the game.
Lilly caught Pagan trying to steal second base and threw over to first baseman James Loney. Miles was late arriving to second base and couldn't handle Loney's wide throw, allowing Pagan to take second.
Had the Dodgers executed the play, the ensuing groundout would have ended the inning. Instead, Beltran stepped to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw into the left-field pavilion, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Lilly had his start pushed back a day because of what Mattingly called "elbow tenderness." It allowed him to throw a bullpen session, which he hadn't done before his previous three or four starts.
He certainly improved from the six runs he had allowed in each of his last three outings. On Tuesday he went six innings and gave up three runs on six hits.
"I was a little better," said Lilly, who also surrendered a home run in the sixth inning to Jason Bay. "But still not good enough to win this game, and that's the goal."
The Dodgers' offense wasn't good enough either, and some of that was due to Pelfrey's six shutout innings. But even he didn't dismiss the opportunities the Dodgers had -- and squandered.
"They definitely had their chances," Pelfrey said. "Luckily, I made some pitches and luckily Uribe hit that 110-mile-per-hour line drive right to Angel Pagan."
AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.