"This is what we usually do other teams," David Wright said. "And it doesn't feel good when it's done to you."
Indeed, the sweep -- the first suffered by the Mets but hardly the first executed by the rampaging Sox, who have won 12 straight games -- was like the negative of what the Mets had done to the Phillies two weeks earlier.
"We ran into a buzz saw," Wright said, nearly repeating what Phillies shortstop Jimmy Roillins said 14 days earlier when the Mets had completed their sweep.
"It wasn't what we didn't do as much as it what they did."
Well, maybe. The Mets hardly distinguished themselves for three nights. And while they did make a better showing Thursday, it wasn't enough.
"We didn't look good for three nights," Tom Glavine said. "When you're good and you're playing the best, you want to show your stuff. We didn't show our stuff."
The Mets still could find comfort in the standings of the National League East. But they chose not to lean on the lead that had been reduced to 11 games.
"That has nothing to do with it," Randolph said. "The lead is good and it's there if you want to think about it, but it just doesn't feel good when you get swept. I doesn't matter how big the lead is."
So now the Mets are like every other team in at least one more regard. Now they too have a three-game losing streak. The team with the best record in the National League lost its singular distinction in what officially was an Interleague game, but what was, for all intents and purposes, a National League tug of war.
The teams that rank second in runs scored in their respective leagues played nine innings in what Don Zimmer used to call a 12-9 ballpark, and they produced a 4-2 score. The Mets were beaten by traditional National League methods. The decisive run in the Sox's come-from-behind victory was the result of two bunts, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. Somewhere Whitey Herzog and Al Lopez were smiling.
Boston captured its 14th victory in 15 Interleague games. The streaking Sox snapped a Mets streak while they were at it -- New York had won 11 straight games started by Glavine.
The Mets were in position to make it 12 after Carlos Beltran hit a two-run home run into the stands in center field against winning pitcher Curt Schilling in the sixth inning. But Glavine surrendered a home run to Mark Loretta in the sixth and allowed two more baserunners before he was removed in favor of Aaron Heilman (0-3).
The Mets reliever allowed a sacrifice fly by Jason Varitek that tied the score. And in the seventh, he allowed a leadoff bunt single by Coco Crisp, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt by Alex Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Kevin Youklis that scored the third Sox run.
The Mets attempted a comeback in the eighth against Mike Timlin, with Beltran singling after two outs. But Crisp made a stunning diving catch in left-center to take away an extra-base hit and a likely score-tying RBI from Wright.
David Ortiz hit his 200th career home run in the bottom of the inning, against Duaner Sanchez.
"They got just what they needed whenever they needed it," Wright said, "just like we did when we were hot. It happens [like] that. They did everything right and just outplayed us. We might have shot ourselves in the foot a few times, but most of it was them showing why they're leading the toughest division in baseball."
The brilliant catch by Crisp -- he dove to make it and later termed it "a leap of faith" -- was parallel to the stunning play Wright had made against Pat Burrell to initiate a ninth-inning double play in the Phillies series.
"When you're winning like they are and like we were," Glavine said, "there's usually some great defense going on."
Glavine, seeking to become the first pitcher to 12 victories this season, allowed five hits and three walks and struck out none in 102 pitches. He was done after five innings. Schilling (10-2) allowed seven hits and a walk in seven. Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon put away the Mets thereafter -- with help from Crisp.
"We saw all their weapons," Wright said. "They're a real good team ... because we don't go down easily. It tells us we have a long way to go to be the team we want to be."