The Mets and Phillies locked heads for a Memorial Day game at Citi Field, and the pitching match-up between Jonathon Niese and Cole Hamels was hyped to be a good one. Although Ty Wigginton provided a lot of the offense for Philadelphia, the game was close until the top of the ninth inning.
Neither team scored until the top of the third inning, and it started with two outs as Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino both drew walks from Niese. Then, Wigginton made him pay with a two-run double to center to take an early 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Rob Johnson and Justin Turner tried to get something going, but Turner hurt his ankle in a rundown and had to leave the game early, forcing Collins to shuffle his players around since Ronny Cedeno wasn’t available. Kirk Nieuwenhuis entered to play center, moving Scott Hairston to left so Vinny Rottino could play third, and moving David Wrightover to shortstop for the second time
in his career.
Niese was able to keep the Phillies bats silent for the next couple of innings, allowing the offense to tie things up at two with a two-run home run by Rottino in the bottom of the fifth following a lead-off walk to Lucas Duda. However, Niese couldn’t keep things tied as he also led off the next inning with a walk to Ty Wigginton, then gave up a long home run to John Mayberry, which ended his day. The final line for the Mets lefty: 5IP, 2 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts on 115 pitches. That gave way to Ramon Ramirez, who retired the side in order on two strikeouts after he made his entry to the game.
The offense was able to get Niese off the hook in the very next inning; Captain Kirk singled to lead off the frame, then Scott Hairston lined a two-run shot to left field with two-outs to bring the score back even at four. However, Bobby Parnell couldn’t keep the game tied as he allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins, another walk to Hunter Pence, then an RBI single to Wigginton, who killed his former team all day. Jon Rauch came in and allowed nothing to keep the deficit at one, allowing the chance for a Mets rally in the eighth.
Although he didn’t arrive until after the game already started because of the birth of his baby girl, Andres Torres was called on to pinch hit in the eighth and he answered with a lead-off double. He was moved over to third by Nieuwenhuis with one out, but neither Murphy or Wright could push the tying run across against Hamels, who ended up pitching eight solid innings in the win. That, for some reason, gave way for Manny Acosta to enter the game, and put it out of reach by allowing a three-run bomb to Wigginton, and was pulled after 0.1 innings pitched for Jack Egbert, who finished out the inning with no more damage. Rumors are swirling that Acosta will be getting designated for assignment by New York today, as he should with his 11.86 ERA. Scott Hairston and co. put together some good at-bats against Jonathan Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth, but went down in order to seal the defeat.
The loss drops the Mets to 27-22, and back into a tie with the Miami Marlins for second place. Both teams are sitting 2.5 games behind the first-place Nationals. The Philadelphia win and eighth-straight Atlanta loss puts those two in a tie for last place at 26-24, four games out of first. The two big blows for the Mets offense came off the bats of Hairston and Rottino, who both hit two-run homers. Wright went 0-for-4, his fourth straight hitless game as he’s come back down to earth after his torrid start. Ike Davis looked terrible against the lefty as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Probable Pitchers Tuesday:
Tonight’s pitching match-up puts two struggling pitchers against one another, although one is struggling more than the other right now. Joe Blanton (4-4, 4.55 ERA) is coming off two the worst starts in his career and is looking to get back on track to help the Phillies climb out of the basement. Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17 ERA) is getting his second MLB start and is looking forward to not getting interrupted by the rain this time. First pitch is scheduled at Citi Field at 7:10pm.