Looking to build on the momentum gained after defeating the division leading Atlanta Braves in three out of five games, the Mets ventured into the City of Brotherly Love this evening for the start of a three game weekend series, while also looking to improve upon their 1-6 record against their host Philadelphia Phillies this season.
Making his fifteenth appearance of the year, Jeremy Hefner climbed the hill, opposed by Phillies starter Cole Hamels. Jeremy entered the game with a hard luck 1-6 record, a 3.96 ERA after seventy-five innings pitched, and a 1.267 WHiP. He has averaged six innings pitched in his five previous starts, and averaged over five innings pitched in thirteen overall starts. Cole Hamels meanwhile, has struggled mightily this season, compiling a 2-10 record – tied for most losses in the league, with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.266 WHiP in ninety-four innings pitched.
To start the game, each pitcher took turns retiring the side in order in the first. In the top of the second, Lucas Duda became the Mets first base runner by drawing a one out walk off Hamels. But with two outs and Juan Lagares at bat, Lucas Duda was thrown out attempting to steal second, ending the top half of the frame.
First baseman Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the second with a double to the right/center gap. Next, left fielder Domonic Brown pulled a grass cutter down the first base line just beyond a diving Lucas Duda, for another double, scoring Howard. Next, Delmon Young flared a Hefner offering to right which fell in front of Marlon Byrd for a single, sending Brown to third. Center fielder Ben Revere then grounded to Daniel Murphy at second, who instead of flipping to Omar Quintanilla covering second, elected to keep the ball for a put-out at second, and lost the opportunity at a double play with a late throw to first. As Revere reached safely, Domonic Brown scored on the fielder’s choice. Catcher Carlos Ruiz then stepped in and singled into left passed a diving David Wright. Number nine hitter, Cole Hamels successfully sacrificed both Delmon Young and Carlos Ruiz into scoring position. Then with two outs, lead-off batter Jimmy Rollins grounded to Daniel Murphy, who this time booted the opportunity, allowing Young to score from third on the play. Jeremy Hefner was then able to strike out Chase Utley swinging for the final out, but not before the Phillies took a 3-0 lead, helped along by one unearned run on Murphy’s error.
The Mets managed their first hit off Hamels in the fourth – a lead-off double by newcomer Eric Young. After Daniel Murphy struck out, David Wright drove Young home with a single to left. With two outs, Jimmy Rollins made a fine play on a Lucas Duda grounder to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Anthony Recker fielded Ben Revere’s lead-off bunt attempt, but threw while off balance and thus, into right-foul territory, allowing Revere to reach second. Jeremy Hefner then struck out Carlos Ruiz and Cole Hamels to bring up Jimmy Rollins for a third time. After working the count full, Rollins slashed a ball David Wright’s way, who made a diving play to his right, which most definitely saved a run, but had no real chance of throwing out Rollins at first. That brought up Chase Utley with two outs and runners on the corners. Jeremy Hefner induced the Philly second baseman into popping-up foul to catcher Anthony Recker to end the fourth without damage.
After Recker struck out looking to begin the fifth, the Mets broke out against Cole Hamels. Juan Lagares doubled to bring up Quintanilla, who promptly singled to left, setting up first and third for Jeremy Hefner. The pitcher helped his cause with a successful sacrifice of Quintanilla to second base. Eric Young then followed with a liner up the middle, scoring both Lagares and Quintanilla to tie the game at three.
With a new game on his hands, Jeremy Hefner climbed the hill again in the bottom of the fifth inning against the heart of the Philly order. With one out, Ryan Howard connected on his second double of the game into the left field corner. Next, Hefner went 3 and 0 to lefty Domonic Brown, and indeed walked him on four pitches. Up came the better match-up, right-handed hitting Delmon Young, who lined out to the hot corner – David Wright. The next batter, Ben Revere tapped softly to the left side, which was fielded by Wright, but again, could not get the speedy Revere at first. The bases were loaded with two outs, for catcher Carlos Ruiz, and with no sign of Terry Collins due a Mets bullpen worn thin over the past few days. On a 3-1 pitch, Ruiz launched a fly to deep center field, tracked down by Juan Lagares just shy of the warning track for out number three.
In the top of the sixth, the Mets took their first lead of the night. After Lucas Duda drew his second walk against Cole Hamels with one out, Juan Lagares launched a two out double – one bounce off the left/center field wall, scoring Duda all the way from first, capped by a close sliding play at home.
Jeremy Hefner went out again for the sixth, and struck out the last batter he faced, third baseman Michael Young, swinging through a fast ball. Cole Hamels’ evening was over as well. The Phillies starter lasted six innings, allowed four earned runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out five, while departing on the losing side. Hefner pitched six full, allowed three runs, only two earned on ten hits. He threw 107 pitches, seventy for strikes, for a 65% rate of effectiveness. He walked only one batter – semi-intentionally, and struck out six. Hefner also lowered his ERA to a 3.89 mark before leaving the game on the winning side.
Aside from a walk to Daniel Murphy, the Mets went quietly in the seventh against Philly reliever Justin De Fratus. Scott Rice took over for Hefner in the seventh, and proceeded to strike out Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown swinging, before issuing a walk to Delmon Young. Up came Ben Revere, who grounded into a close 3 to 1 put-out at first.
With Jacob Diekman pitching for Philadelphia in the eighth, the Mets got back to back singles from Juan Lagares and Omar Quintanilla with two outs, for a first and third situation, but were stranded when Andrew Brown (pinch hitting for Rice) grounded to Jimmy Rollins for a force play at second. Terry Collins then called upon Carlos Torres to pitch the bottom of the eighth, who retired the side in order.
Into the ninth they went.
The Mets faced reliever Michael Stutes in the potential final frame. Eric Young greeted the new Philly pitcher by drawing a lead-off walk. Daniel Murphy followed by working the count full, and grounded into a very questionable 6 to 3 put-out, as Young apparently beat Rollins to second base negating a force play. But the second base Ump reversed his initial safe call, resulting in a double play. Terry Collins only offered mild dismay with the umpire. After David Wright struck out to end the Mets at-bat, Bobby Parnell was given the ball to close this game out.
Chase Utley was first, and grounded Murphy to Duda for out number one. Michael Young followed, and grounded Quintanilla to Duda for out number two. Ryan Howard then stepped in against Bobby Parnell, and with the obligatory Howard shift in place, the big lefty struck out swinging on a 2-2 curve ball to end the game.
In pitching a scoreless ninth, Bobby Parnell earned his 12th save of the season. Three hours and five minutes of effort in Philadelphia resulted in a 4-3 Amazin’ victory for the Mets. Jeremy Hefner, very deservingly earned his second win of the season. Bobby Parnell lowered his ERA from 2.61 to a 2.56 mark.
* Nice to see Anthony Recker get another start. Made a nice block of breaking ball in dirt in fifth inning with Howard on second base.
* Nice curve ball by Hefner tonight!
* Duda; 2 walks, 38 for season.
* Eric Young batting lead-off; 2 for 4, double, 2 rbi, walk, run (1 for 8 first two games)
* Juan Lagares; 3 for 4, 2 doubles, rbi
* David Wright overall great game.
* Defense – Daniel Murphy two second inning misplays. Anthony Recker errant throw to first in fourth inning resulted in two bases.
* Jeremy Hefner – master of yielding the unearned run. In his last four starts, Jeremy has surrendered thirteen runs, only five earned.
* Could David Wright have thrown out Domonic Brown at first in the fifth inning, on the back end of a line out by Delmon Young? Better safe than sorry in a tie game. Hard to second guess that kind of throw.
* David Wright’s stop of a Jimmy Rollins liner in the fifth proved to be a game saving play.
NOTE: Pictures of Friday Night’s game were not available at post time.