NEW YORK -- If there was ever a silver lining to a gloomy road trip that has seen the Padres win once in seven games, with three of the losses being shutouts, it's this:
The team will get left fielder Carlos Quentin back on Monday.
Truth be told, the team could have used Quentin, who has been sidelined since Spring Training after knee surgery, in New York this weekend, especially after falling Sunday to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the Mets, 2-0, before a before a crowd of 28,361.
"It doesn't matter if you're good or bad offensively, it's always good to get a guy back who has hit in the middle of the lineup like Carlos has," Padres catcher Nick Hundley said of Quentin, who has yet to play a single game for San Diego.
"We have high expectations for him."
At this point, the Padres (17-32) will take whatever they can get to get some runs. After scoring 11 in their lone victory in the four-game series on Thursday, they scored one run over the last three games and head to Chicago on Monday having not scored a run in 26 consecutive innings.
It was probably going to be tough for the Padres to muster much offense against the Mets (27-21), as Dickey's knuckleball was moving. He allowed three hits and had 10 strikeouts along with one walk in 7 1/3 innings. He was able to move his knuckleball around the strike zone, seemingly at will.
"It was dancing," Padres manager Bud Black said.
The problem, Black said, with knuckleball pitchers like Dickey (7-1) is you don't see enough of them to get any kind of feel for hitting them.
"When you don't see it [often], it's different," Black said. "You really can't simulate it or prepare for it in BP. He was throwing strikes and getting a lot of called strikes. He kept pumping the strike zone with the knuckleball."
Edinson Volquez, who got the start for the Padres, had plenty of movement on his pitches on Sunday -- just not the kind the Padres would have liked.
Volquez (2-5), who allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, walked three, had five strikeouts and had two wild pitches. Two of those walks came in the first inning and preceded an RBI single by Daniel Murphy, the only run the Mets would need.
"I was a little all over the plate in the first two innings, but I talked to our pitching coach [Darren Balsley] about something I was doing in my mechanics," Volquez said, noting that Balsley moved him from the first-base side of the rubber to the third-base side.
Volquez pitched better thereafter, though one of his wild pitches in the fifth inning allowed Mike Baxter, who doubled to start the inning, to move to third base. Baxter then scored when Hundley was charged with a passed ball.
The Padres had their best chance in the eighth inning when Dickey hit Hundley with a pitch and walked pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia after Blake Tekotte struck out. Reliever Tim Byrdak came in and got another pinch-hitter, Alexi Amarista, to line out to center field. Finally, Byrdak struck out Will Venable to end the inning.
The Padres managed just three hits in the game: A single by Yonder Alonso in the first inning, another single by Hundley in the second inning and then a double by Jesus Guzman in the seventh inning. They couldn't score, however, as Alonso was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. In that seventh inning, Guzman, after his double, was thrown out trying to steal third base.
Even with their struggles offensively, the Padres continue to be aggressive on the bases.
"That's how we've got to play," Black said. "We can't sit back and wait. We've got to make them make a play."
After a lost weekend in Queens, Black is hoping the Padres' luck will change on Monday when the team plays the first of three games against the Cubs -- and with Quentin likely in the starting lineup. His knee has healed from arthroscopic surgery on March 19 and the second of his two Minor League rehab starts proved to him that his knee is now ready to take on more.
The Padres, who have been feeding the disabled list with players steadily all season, finally get one back on Monday.
"I know the Padres are beat up -- 15 guys on the DL. I feel terrible for Bud. He does a good job and they're going to get healthy, but when you're in their situation, we have to take advantage of it," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
"We've been there. We've been there when you look up and our lineup's been decimated. Teams don't feel sorry for you at this level. That's why you have to get them when things aren't good for them."