Phillies streak snapped by the Mets

April 9, 2008 8:57:12 PM PDT
The Philadelphia Phillies looked lost without Jimmy Rollins. Last year's NL East champions played a painfully sloppy game minus their MVP shortstop, and Mike Pelfrey gave the Mets' injury-riddled pitching staff an encouraging boost in New York's 8-2 victory Wednesday night.

The Mets ended a nine-game losing streak to Philadelphia, taking advantage of four errors that led to six unearned runs. Eric Bruntlett, filling in for the injured Rollins, booted two grounders in a six-run third - after Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick walked six batters in the first two innings.

"It's the first start. That's not how you want it to go, that's for sure," Bruntlett said.

Handed a comfortable lead, Pelfrey (1-0) tossed five effective innings in his first start of the year to help the Mets bounce back after losing their home opener to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Phillies won the final eight meetings between these rivals in 2007, a big reason they were able to rally past the fading Mets to win the division title.

"We never felt there was any dominance against us," New York manager Willie Randolph said. "There's nothing in our heads as a team that they have a better team than us or that they have our number."

Angel Pagan hit a two-run double for the Mets, who stopped a three-game skid. Damion Easley, starting at second base for ailing Luis Castillo, put New York ahead 2-1 with an RBI single off Kendrick (1-1) in the third.

"In that inning where they scored the six runs, we just fell apart," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.

Rollins sat out with a sprained left ankle, missing his first game since July 30, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He left Tuesday's game in the eighth inning after tweaking his ankle while scrambling back to second base on a pickoff play.

The 2007 NL MVP tested his ankle during batting practice Wednesday, but was removed from the lineup about an hour before the first pitch. X-rays were negative, and Rollins said he didn't expect the soreness in his ankle to linger long.

Manuel said if Rollins feels good enough to play Thursday night, he will.

With Rollins wearing a ski cap and watching from the top step of the dugout, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz also committed costly errors.

"We practice this stuff all the time," Manuel said. "If you catch 'em in practice, you have to catch 'em in the game. You just have to catch the ball."

Before the game, the Mets announced that pitcher Orlando Hernandez has a strained tendon in his troublesome right foot that will keep him out indefinitely. El Duque, who had surgery on the foot in the offseason, will wear a protective boot for two weeks and then be re-evaluated.

The Mets also are missing No. 2 starter Pedro Martinez, who strained his left hamstring in his first start and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Those injuries make Pelfrey especially important. New York is counting on the 24-year-old right-hander, who was selected ninth overall in the 2005 amateur draft. He went 3-8 with a 5.57 ERA for the Mets last season, then compiled an 8.14 ERA in 21 innings during spring training.

"When Pedro went down I thought, guys got to step up. I want to be one of those guys that they can hand the ball to every fifth day and not have to worry about it," Pelfrey said. "It's definitely a better start than last year. I want to have a good year."

Pitching for the first time since March 28, Pelfrey allowed two runs and five hits with two walks. He threw 66 of his 100 pitches for strikes.

"He's on his way," catcher Brian Schneider said.

Kendrick also had a miserable spring (9.68 ERA) after going 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA as a rookie last year. He lasted only 2 1-3 innings against the Mets, giving up four hits and seven runs - one earned.

"I tried to make good pitches, but I can't nibble. It's not me and I learned from it," Kendrick said.

Jorge Sosa, Pedro Feliciano and Carlos Muniz finished up with scoreless relief for New York in a game played through an on-and-off drizzle.

Rollins had played in 230 consecutive games, the third-longest current streak in the major leagues going into Wednesday behind Cleveland's Grady Sizemore (366) and Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur (334). ... Castillo sat out with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. ... Filling in for injured left fielder Moises Alou, Pagan has eight RBIs in seven games.