The line drive the Mets outfielders were pursuing when they collided Thursday was the critical hit in a 2-1 loss to the Padres on Thursday at PETCO Park, a loss that saddled the Mets with yet another loss on the road.
Batting against Tom Glavine with one out and the bases empty in the seventh inning, pinch-hitter David Ross hit a sinking line drive that either right fielder Cameron or center fielder Beltran might have caught if the other wasn't there. But the line drive became a triple after the two collided and, some 15 minutes later, after Cameron had been carried off the field on a stretcher, a two-out single by Joe Randa produced the decisive run in the Mets' 33rd loss in 55 road games.
The loss hardly affected the Mets, who were struck by the injuries and the potential for serious after-effects. Nonetheless, it marked another road series loss and another day in pursuit of the National League Wild Card lost.
For Glavine, it was a chance to reach .500 that was gone. He pitched well enough to win, allowing two runs and seven hits in seven innings. After Trevor Hoffman earned his 30th save, Glavine had earned his 10th loss in 18 decisions.
He neither complained nor attributed his fate to the extended wait that followed Ross' hit.
"I was ready. I didn't lose anything," Glavine said. "I made a good pitch to [Randa] but he was able to do something with it."
Randa's single fell well in front of Chris Woodward, who replaced Beltran in center after starting at shortstop on what was supposed to be a day off for Jose Reyes. Marlon Anderson moved from first base to right field to replace Cameron. And because Willie Randolph had given the day off to Mike Piazza and Miguel Cairo, too, the Mets defense was rather patchwork for nine innings.
It hardly was a contributing factor to the loss, though. The greater factor was the Mets' inability to deal with Padres starter Woody Williams (one run, six hits, one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings), his successor Akinori Otsuka, who pitched their eighth, and Hoffman. They managed two base runners against Otsuka. He walked Reyes to start the inning and, after Reyes had stolen second, he struck out Jose Offerman.
With first base unoccupied, Otsuka hit Cliff Floyd on the left knee with his first pitch. Floyd was sore in two ways. He had no doubt the Padres' reliever had aimed to do so.
"They walked me [intentionally] last night when first base was open," Floyd said, "and David [Wright] hit the next one out. There's no way they were going to give me four more [balls], so he just hit me."
Otsuka had hit only one batter previously this season, and he hit none in 77 1/3 innings last season. Speaking through a translator, he said, "Definitely not. I never intended to hit him. I know he's a very good inside hitter and the ball was an inside pitch. I tried to hit a spot, but I accidentally went too much inside. ... Definitely not. It wasn't on purpose."
When the interpreter completed the translation, Otsuka interjected in English: "I never do that."
But with Floyd on first and Reyes on second, Wright grounded into a double play to end the inning and the Mets' final threat.
The Mets scored their run in the fourth against Williams (6-8) on a double by Floyd after a walk and stolen base by Beltran. The Padres scored against Glavine in the fourth with a single by Khalil Greene that drove in Brian Giles.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.