New Look Mets,Same Old Story
By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Cole Hamels pitched seven strong innings and handed himself some much-needed run support, sending the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
Carlos Ruiz homered and the Phillies overcame a couple of mental mistakes by Jimmy Rollins to win for only the third time in 17 road games. Hamels hit a two-run single to help Philadelphia improve to 8-5 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) labored through 4 1-3 innings on Japanese Heritage Night in his second start for the new-look Mets, who have dropped six of seven. Depleted by key injuries and Tuesday’s trade that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh, New York fell to 2-6 on a nine-game homestand.
The Mets made three errors after going six games without one, which matched a season high.
Hindered by the fifth-worst run support in the majors this season, Hamels (6-13) worked around nine hits and improved to 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in six August starts. The left-hander struck out eight, walked one and upped his career record to 7-12 against the Mets.
Hamels grounded a two-run single to left field off reliever Robert Carson in the fifth to make it 4-1. That gave Hamels, a career .170 hitter entering the game, four RBIs this season and answered a three-run double by Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese the previous night.
Niese’s three-hit shutout lasted 2 hours, 19 minutes, but it took that long to play 51/2 innings Wednesday in a game that dragged on for 3:32.
Matsuzka threw 82 pitches over the first three innings, and a television camera fixed on Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee spinning a crushed water bottle in the dugout. Hamels made seven straight tosses to first base with speedy Eric Young Jr. aboard in the fifth.
Young stole second anyway.
But while rain postponed afternoon tennis matches at the U.S. Open next door, the Phillies and Mets stayed dry throughout a dreary evening that matched the pace of the game.
Rollins failed to cover third base on a third-inning popup along the third base line. Noticing that the shortstop was flat-footed, Young alertly tagged up at second and beat Rollins and Ruiz to the bag.
Ike Davis followed with an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch, his 10th hit in 67 at-bats (.149) against left-handed pitching this year.
Rollins made up for his gaffe with a tying double in the fourth _ but got cut down at third for the final out of the inning. It was Rollins’ first RBI in 15 games, his longest drought since August 2005, according to STATS.
A ground-rule double by Michael Young set up the Phillies in the fifth and made him 10 for 17 (.588) off Matsuzaka, who forced in the go-ahead run by hitting John Mayberry Jr. with a pitch.
That was it for Matsuzaka, charged with four runs, four walks and six hits in his second major league start of the season.
The former Red Sox star was pitching in Cleveland’s farm system before he was granted his release last week. The Mets signed him to fill a hole in their injury-depleted rotation the rest of the way.
Ruiz hit a solo homer off Carson in the sixth.
Andrew Brown had an RBI double for the Mets in the seventh.
NOTES: All-Star OF Domonic Brown sat out again with a sore right heel. He hasn’t started since being lifted Saturday, but Sandberg said Brown is getting close. … Phillies 3B Cody Asche left in the seventh with a cramp and a mild right hamstring strain. … Mayberry was called for interference with his backswing on a stolen base for the second time in three nights. … Mets rookie Wilmer Flores made his first major league start at 2B, his position for most of this season at Triple-A Las Vegas. Flores has been filling in at 3B for injured David Wright. Josh Satin started at 3B. … Mets manager Terry Collins said CF Matt den Dekker will get his first big league start Thursday. … Matsuzaka singled in the third for his third career hit and first since June 24, 2010, with Boston. … RHP Carlos Torres pitches in place of injured Mets ace Matt Harvey in the series finale Thursday. RHP Ethan Martin gets the ball for Philadelphia.
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