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Hefner Huge in Mets Win

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Jeremy Hefner (right) (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport)

Jeremy Hefner (right) (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport)

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By BEN WALKER   AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Jeremy Hefner earned his first victory in the
majors, highlighting the occasion by homering for his first big
league hit as the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3
on a rainy Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old rookie became the first major league pitcher to
hit his first homer in his first win since 2002, when Dennis
Tankersley did it with San Diego, STATS LLC said.

Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston had a two-run homer and newcomer
Omar Quintanilla doubled twice and singled to help New York win for
the fourth time in five games. After a storm delay of 64 minutes in
the eighth inning, the Mets improved to 6-2 against Philadelphia
this year.

Earlier in the day, the last-place Phillies learned ace Roy
Halladay is expected to be out six to eight weeks because of a
strained right shoulder.

Hefner (1-2) pitched six innings and finished strong after a
shaky beginning in his second major league start. He gave up a
leadoff double to Jimmy Rollins and later bounced a wild pitch in
the opposite batter’s box that let him score.

The Mets led 4-2 in the sixth when Juan Pierre opened with a
single and scored when Hunter Pence followed with double and took
third on left fielder Mike Baxter’s error. But Hefner prevented
Pence from scoring the tying run, retiring three straight batters.

Hefner got a nice ovation from the fans, plus pats on the back
from his teammates in the dugout when he got Placido Polanco on an
inning-ending flyout.

Hefner drew an even bigger cheer when he launched a solo home
run in the fourth off Joe Blanton (4-5), the ball sailing high down
the left field line. Hefner neatly put down a sacrifice bunt
earlier in the game.

In Hefner’s only other big league at-bat, he struck out last
week while getting tagged by San Diego in his first start. Hefner
did have one previous pro homer, last year for the Padres’ Triple-A
team.

Hefner became the first Mets player to earn his first career win
and hit his first career home run in the same game, STATS said. The
last major leaguer to get his first career victory and also homer
for his first hit in the same game was Tony Saunders for the
Marlins in 1997, STATS said.

Hefner allowed six hits, walked none and struck out four. Bobby
Parnell pitched the seventh, Jon Rauch worked the eighth and Frank
Francisco closed for his 14th save in 16 chances.

Blanton gave up six runs and nine hits in five-plus innings
after Boston and St. Louis racked him in his prior two starts.

Blanton hit Baxter with a pitch to begin the first and David
Wright broke an 0-for-14 slide by lining an RBI single off Rollins’
glove at shortstop. Ike Davis added a single for a 2-1 lead.

Brian Schneider hit a second-deck homer in the Philadelphia
second. The Mets got that run back in the bottom half when
Quintanilla, promoted from Triple-A Buffalo before the game,
doubled off the wall in his first Mets’ at-bat and scored on
Baxter’s hustling double.

Hairston batted for Hefner in the sixth and connected for his
seventh career pinch-hit home run. The Mets began the game 28th in
the majors with only 32 homers.

     NOTES: Phillies C Carlos Ruiz did not play for the second
straight game because of hamstring trouble. … Hefner became the
first Mets pitcher to hit a home run since Johan Santana in 2010.
… The Mets put INF Justin Turner on the disabled list with a
sprained ankle and cut RHP Manny Acosta. … Quintanilla tied his
career high with three hits. … Mets C Josh Thole (concussion) is
set to DH in Triple-A Wednesday, catch RHP Chris Young on Thursday
and, if all goes well, rejoin the Mets on Friday.

     (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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