NEW YORK -- Trying to pinpoint just what type of offense the Twins will have on any given night has been as difficult as solving the Bermuda Triangle.

One day it's 10 runs, and the next it's one. One day the Twins lace together 15 hits with ease, and the next they struggle to produce a handful. With all the ups and downs, it certainly seems like the club's offense has been suffering from an identity crisis.

That inconsistent play continued on Monday night, as the club's inability to generate runs proved costly yet again in an 8-1 loss to the Mets at Shea Stadium.

"We're just not consistent at all," Torii Hunter said. "We'll be good for four or five games and the next thing you know, for four or five games, we're terrible. And tonight, we just couldn't get anything going."

Mets starter John Maine held the Twins to just one run over 7 1/3 innings and allowed only four hits on the night. The lone run that Maine allowed didn't come until the eighth inning, as he shut down the Twins offense for most of his start. Maine (7-4) even retired 10 straight Twins batters at one point, and only twice did runners advance past first base.

With the way the season has been going for the Twins, it only made sense that Carlos Silva was on the mound. Silva came into his start on Monday holding the lowest average run support of any American League starter (3.16).

Yet again, he had to watch as his team's bats couldn't do anything to help him out.

"I don't know what to say," Silva said. "It's hard, but there's nothing we can do about it. They always tell me do your work and do your job and everything else will take care of itself. But it's not right now."

The Mets chipped away at Silva (4-8) throughout the night. New York took its first lead in the second inning when Carlos Delgado belted his 11th home run of the season, a solo shot to right field.

But it was two other mistake pitches that Silva pinpointed as costing him the game. One came in the fourth on an RBI single by Mets left fielder Ricky Ledee. Hitting in the eight-hole with a runner in scoring position and the pitcher on deck, Ledee's main mission was to swing and put a ball into play. Knowing that, Silva tried to throw a pitch just outside of the zone, but he missed and caught too much of the plate.

Silva then found himself in a similar situation in the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs. After getting ahead of Paul Lo Duca, Silva planned to throw an 0-2 changeup down, but he left it up. Lo Duca then singled to center, scoring two more runs to make it 4-0. Silva was finished after the sixth, giving up four runs on 10 hits for the night.

"If I make those two pitches, it's a different ballgame," Silva said.

Silva's night was aided by some impressive plays by his defense. In the fifth inning, the Twins put together a highlight reel of catches. Michael Cuddyer made a tough grab on a hard-hit liner to the right-field wall by Jose Reyes to lead off the fifth. Luis Castillo then recorded the second out on a behind-the-back flip for a fielder's choice. And the best was saved for last. With runners on first and second, left fielder Jason Kubel saved Silva from at least one additional run when he made a diving catch down the line for the final out of the inning.

"Defensively, we made enough plays to at least keep ourselves close, but in the end they kind of ran away with it there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just couldn't finish them off."

One day after giving up three runs to the Brewers in a one-inning outing, Juan Rincon followed up with yet another rough outing. Rincon started the eighth inning and gave up four runs (three earned) in just one-third of an inning. But despite the recent stretch of poor outings for Rincon, Gardenhire isn't about to give up on the right-hander.

"He's been a great reliever around here, and he still is," Gardenhire said. "I'm not ready to give up on the ship on Juan Rincon. I have a big spot in my heart for him because he's done a lot of good, and I'm sure he'll get back to being good. Right now he's just having a little bit of a tough time."

Tough times are nothing new for this club, which has seen its fair share this season. But now it's about finding a way to change the inconsistent play that has plagued them for the first 68 games of the season.

"It's getting late," Silva said. "We need to start playing better baseball, because this is getting out of hand."

The Twins have been stating the same message over and over again this season -- in time, everything will fall into place. But with a little less than three weeks until the All-Star break and still toiling at the .500 mark (34-34), time has started to dwindle away.

And listening to Hunter, it's clear that urgency is felt by the entire club.

"You look up there and you see Cleveland and Detroit winning, and we're not," Hunter said. "That means we're falling behind. If we don't get it done soon, we're going to be way behind and looking far away at Cleveland and Detroit."