Game Recap: Hefner Uses Bat and Arm to Win 6-3

By Matt Musico

Once again, a game started by Jeremy Hefner featured a rain delay that lasted over an hour, but this time, the rain started after he was already out of the game. He did it all against Joe Blanton last night; throwing six innings and giving up three runs, but also registered his first Major League hit, which happened to be a home run, the first by a Met pitcher in two years.

The scoring started immediately for both of these teams against two pitchers that were looking to get themselves back on the right foot. Jimmy Rollins started the game against Hefner with a lead-off double. He moved over on a bunt by Juan Pierre, then scored on a wild pitch to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. That didn’t last long, however, as the Mets came right back in the bottom of the inning to

score two runs. Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch and Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled before David Wright broke out of his longest hitless streak of the season with an RBI single. With two outs, Ike Davis ripped an RBI single to right field to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

Hefner couldn’t hold the lead in the next inning as former Met catcher Brian Schneider hit a ball of the facing of the Pepsi porch with his second home run of the year. Once again, New York answered in the bottom of the inning; Omar Quintanilla made an immediate impression with a double in his first at-bat, then came around to score on a Mike Baxter double. New York extended their lead in the fourth as Hefner came to bat and ripped a homer to left field.

Hefner gave up another run in the sixth inning after Hunter Pence doubled Pierre in from first base, but that was it as the righty exited the game in the bottom half for a pinch hitter. The final line for Hefner: 6 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts. A day after walks killed Jonathon Niese‘s performance, it was great to see none from the Mets pitching staff. Scott Hairston pinch hit for Hefner in the bottom of the inning and extended the Met lead to 6-3 with his second two-run homer in as many days.

Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch both pitched scoreless innings around the 64-minute rain delay, and even though Frank Francisco didn’t set down the side in order last night, he looked good once again en route to his 14th save of the year, knotting up this series at one game each.

The loss puts the Phillies back in the basement of the NL East since the Braves won their first game in over a week, and the win keeps the Mets tied with Miami for second place in the division at 28-22, as they are both 1.5 games behind the Nationals. New York has now won 16 games at home and is 7-3 in their last 10 games. The star of the game was Hefner, who registered his first win in the Major Leagues, and did it in style as he threw six innings and hit a home run. The biggest statistic for the pitching staff last night was that they didn’t walk a soul, which made Terry Collins very happy. Omar Quintanilla made his first appearance in the majors since August of last year with the Rangers, and he didn’t disappoint as he collected three hits in his Mets debut, two of them being doubles. David Wright broke out of his hitless streak with a first inning single, and Scott Hairston now leads the team with six home runs of the season.

Probable Pitchers Wednesday:

The Mets are trying to take the rubber game of this series in an effort to win three straight series against their division rivals. They will have a tall task ahead of them as Philadelphia sends Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.82 ERA) to the mound, and while he doesn’t have a win yet this year, he has the second-lowest ERA on the staff. The Mets will send Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.92 ERA) to the mound; Gee is coming off a career high nine-strikeout game, but his career ERA against the Phillies is 7.50, so he’s looking to turn things around. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.