"The trick," Black said after that game, "is to keep it going."
The Padres could not.
"Early on, we saw a lot of fastballs that had good sink," Black said following Friday's loss. "As the game went on, the changeup and slider became more of a factor [for Gee]. ... We just couldn't get the ball in the air against him."
The Mets roughed up pitcher Anthony Bass, who has been as steady as anyone in the Padres' decimated rotation that looks nothing like it did when the team began the season eight weeks ago, before injuries felled four members of the starting crew.
Bass allowed six earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. It's the second time this season he's allowed six runs in a start, May 4 against Miami being the other.
The funny thing is, Bass actually felt good about his stuff and his command. Better than good, in fact -- great.
"Tonight I felt the best I've felt all year. Every mistake I made, they hit," Bass said. "I felt on, especially after the first inning."
So did Gee, apparently.
Gee allowed a first-inning run and nothing else, settling down to retire 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced. He allowed four hits with three walks. The nine strikeouts were a career-high.
"He pitched aggressively and got ahead in the count," said Padres third baseman Chase Headley. "He had a nice little changeup going, too. Early on, it seemed like he gave us some pitches to hit."
That was the case in the first inning, when the Padres got their lone run. Will Venable started the game with a walk and advanced to third base, and Yonder Alonso dumped an opposite-field single into left field to put runners on the corners with one out.
The next batter, Jesus Guzman, found himself down in the count with two quick strikes before running into a Gee fastball, sending it toward the wall in left field. That's where former Padres farmhand Mike Baxter made a leaping catch as his momentum carried him into the wall.
Venable tagged up and scored, but Alonso, who was running hard on contact, had to try to retreat to first base. The relay throw barely beat him and the inning was over.
"A great play by Baxter," Black said. "Yonder was being aggressive, and off the bat, the ball looked like a home run or an extra-base hit. He just couldn't get back."
Mets manager Terry Collins said Baxter's play gave his team a boost.
"I think it changed it quite a bit. It held them to one run in the inning instead of a multirun inning," Collins said. "I think it lifted Dillon and everybody else. It was a tremendous play."
The Padres, who scored 11 runs on 18 hits in Thursday's victory, had few opportunities. The team had just four hits, a double by Venable in the third inning, a single by John Baker in the fifth and a single by Everth Cabrera in the seventh inning.
Cabrera has seven hits in his last three games.
Headley said not to read too much into the wild swing in offense from one game to the next; from 11 runs on 18 hits to one run on four scant hits.
"Baseball is meant to be taken in a large sample size," Headley said. "Hopefully, it's closer to what you saw yesterday than tonight. I do think I see some confidence in some of the guys who were struggling."
As for Bass, he started fast by catching Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis looking at called third strikes in the first inning. But the Mets scored a run in the second inning, scored twice in the third and then broke the game open with three runs in the fifth, when Ike Davis collected a two-run single.
All the while, Bass kept trying to hit spots with his pitches. But even when he threw the ball where he wanted to, the Mets got to him.
One example was a pitch Bass made low and away in the strike zone to Baxter in the third inning. Baxter, a left-handed hitter, went with the pitch, driving it the other way for a run-scoring double.
"You just battle," Bass said. "You go out there and you try to execute."