Homers help Mets hang with Hamels in loss

Homers help Mets hang with Hamels in loss

Homers help Mets hang with Hamels in loss
NEW YORK -- The Mets tagged starter Cole Hamels for four runs early, but couldn't push across the game-tying run off Hamels in the eighth inning in an 8-4 loss on Monday at Citi Field.

Capping an 0-for-4 day, David Wright grounded out with two-outs and Andres Torres on third to end the late threat in the series opener on Memorial Day.

"It's one of the beauties of our game. ... There's no perfect at-bats. David Wright shows he's human," manager Terry Collins said. "He can fall into a funk like anybody else. He's been so good for so long that we always expect him to get a hit, but we know that's not going to be the case."

Hamels said the last at-bat to Wright was all he had left in the tank.

"I just knew not to lay anything down the pipe," Hamels said. "There's a reason why he's hitting .380, and obviously a couple days ago he was .400. I knew not to make a mistake."

Torres, presumed inactive before Monday's game due to the birth of his baby girl earlier in the morning, showed up at the park after the game had already started. He was called on to pinch-hit with the Mets down by a run in the eighth inning, and he answered with a double. But in the end, New York couldn't get the hit it needed off Hamels. The Phillies' starter pitched eight innings, striking out six while allowing one walk.

"I think Cole did a good job. He made a couple mistakes, and we hit those out of the ballpark, but when he needed to get an out, he [focused] and did a terrific job," Wright said. "He had good stuff today. He was throwing strikes with all of his pitches. I think he made a few mistakes, and we were able to capitalize on that, but not quite enough."

Mets starter Jon Niese only allowed two hits, but erratic pitching and a John Mayberry Jr. long ball eventually chased him in the sixth inning. Niese allowed four earned runs in five innings of work, tying a career-high with seven strikeouts but walking five. He threw 115 pitches over his outing, but only 64 went for strikes.

"Five walks, that's pretty embarrassing," Niese said. "It's one of those things where I didn't have my good stuff. I didn't have good command. I thought I should establish my fastball in a lot more early, but that's the way it goes."

The Phillies threatened to end the Mets' streak of 26 innings without a run allowed, when Daniel Murphy and Wright both committed errors in the first. Niese then walked Ty Wigginton to load the bases, but the left-hander got Mayberry to fly out to left field to end the inning.

The streak would eventually be broken at 28 scoreless innings, when Wigginton made Niese pay for back-to-back walks to Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in the third. His two-out double gave the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. With Wigginton on second, Mayberry scorched a ball up the middle, but Murphy flashed the leather, robbing the Phillies' left fielder on a diving play to end the inning.

The Mets ran into further trouble in the bottom of the inning, when they lost shortstop Justin Turner to an ankle injury after stepping awkwardly on first base as he was being chased down for the third out of the inning.

At first glance, Collins thought Turner blew out his Achilles tendon. X-rays taken during the game came back negative.

Ronny Cedeno could do little more than pinch-hit on Monday, due to a calf strain. After Turner's injury, Wright moved over to play shortstop for the second time in his career, with the first coming last August in Atlanta.

The Mets called up infielder Omar Quintanilla after Monday's game, and Collins said it's likely he'll start on Tuesday. Quintanilla was hitting .281 with six home runs and 27 RBIs at Triple-A Buffalo.

Hamels cruised through the first four innings, allowing just three baserunners over that stretch. But in the fifth inning, the Mets would finally get to the lefty. The Phillies' starter walked right fielder Lucas Duda, bringing up Vinny Rottino, who on Saturday hit his first career home run at 32 years old. Rottino hit his second home run in as many games, tying the game at 2.

Mayberry Jr.'s home run in the sixth would end Niese's day, but reliever Ramon Ramirez held the sixth-inning damage to just those two runs. That allowed Scott Hairston to tie the game with his own two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mets, however, couldn't hold the Phillies after that, as they scored a seventh-inning run on Wigginton's RBI single, and the veteran then capped his career day with a three-run homer in the ninth off Manny Acosta to finish with six RBIs.

After the game, Collins said he was worried about the amount of home runs Acosta had given up recently. He was going to have a conversation with the coaching staff about the right-hander's performance later on Monday.

The Mets also recalled right-hander Chris Schwinden after the game. The corresponding roster moves for Schwinden and Quintanilla will be announced prior to Tuesday's game. Schwinden is 3-4 with a 2.59 ERA in nine starts for Buffalo.

The loss on Monday ended New York's winning streak at three. Monday's game marked the start of a stretch of eight series against opponents that are above .500. The Mets have 16 wins over teams with a record of .500 or better, tied for second in the Majors.

"It's going to be tough, but we've been playing good baseball," Wright said. "Today it started out a little sloppy. Niese's pitch count got a little higher than it should have been early, but for the most part we've been playing good baseball."

Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.