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Mets Battle Back From Huge Deficit Before Falling To Phillies

Pelfrey 2-For-2 In Awful Starts To Begin 2011; Philly Wins 10-7
Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey

(credit: AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mike Pelfrey heard a voice telling him not to catch the ball, so he let it drop.

Smart play. Poor execution.

It was that kind of game for the New York Mets, who overcame a 7-0 deficit only to lose 10-7 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer for the Mets, who got a second straight poor outing from Pelfrey.

“Anytime the team scores seven runs, I got to win,” Pelfrey said. “I was bad last week, and I was even worse tonight. I let them down again. I feel bad for the bullpen; they had to pick up six innings. I’ve definitely got to be better than what happened.”

Pelfrey, who lost the season opener at Florida, lasted just two-plus innings, allowing seven runs — six earned — and eight hits.

Ryan Howard tied a career high with four hits and fell a triple short of the cycle, Ben Francisco also homered and the Phillies overcame a rough start by Joe Blanton to improve to 4-1.

Placido Polanco had three hits and three RBIs, including a go-ahead single in the fifth for the four-time NL East champions.

Antonio Bastardo (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Jose Contreras worked the ninth for his first save.

After the Mets scored five in the fifth to tie it at 7, the Phillies answered in the bottom half against Blaine Boyer (0-1). Shane Victorino hit a two-out double and Polanco followed with a sinking liner to right. Carlos Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field making the switch to right this season, made a diving attempt but the ball fell in for a single. Victorino scored to put Philadelphia up 8-7.

After Jimmy Rollins walked, Howard reached on an infield single up the middle that bounced off Boyer and trickled away. Polanco came around to score from second to make it 9-7.

“I was very, very proud of the way we came back,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “They hung in there and gave us a chance to get back in it.”

Francisco connected off Boyer in the sixth. He hit two drives Tuesday night that were knocked down by a stiff wind and caught on the warning track. This shot landed several rows back in left.

Howard finished 4 for 4 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and two RBIs. Usually a slow starter, he’s batting .524 ( 11 for 21) in five games.

A miscue by Pelfrey led to Philadelphia’s third run in the second. Pete Orr reached on an infield single to start the inning. Blanton then popped up a one-out bunt. Pelfrey let it drop, hoping to start a 1-4-6 double play. But his throw to first skipped past second baseman Brad Emaus for an error and the runners ended up at second and third. Orr scored on Victorino’s groundout to deep short for a 3-0 lead.

“I was gonna catch it and I think it was David (Wright), ‘Let it go, drop drop,’ so I let it go, and I picked it up and obviously didn’t have a good grip on it,” Pelfrey said. “That definitely doesn’t help out when you can’t even field your position, little things like that.”

Blanton, the forgotten man in Philadelphia’s star-studded rotation, gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Trailing 7-0, New York started to chip away in the fourth when Pagan hit a two-run shot to left-center.

The Mets then chased Blanton in the fifth. Blanton struck out pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy to start the inning, but allowed the next seven batters to reach.

Jose Reyes doubled and Willie Harris walked. Wright and Beltran followed with RBIs singles. After Pagan singled to load the bases, Ike Davis ripped a two-run double to get the Mets within a run. Blanton left after walking Emaus to load the bases. Bastardo came in and struck out Josh Thole. But Murphy singled to left to tie it at 7. Reyes flied out to left to end the inning.

The Phillies knocked Pelfrey out in the third. Howard led off with a towering shot into the bushes behind the wall in straightaway center. Raul Ibanez singled, Francisco walked and Orr blooped a single to left to load the bases.

That ended Pelfrey’s night. Taylor Buchholz entered and struck out Brian Schneider, but Blanton bounced a two-run single to left. Polanco added an RBI single to make it 7-0.

NOTES: The Mets were 5-17-4 in road series in 2010. A win against Roy Halladay and the Phillies on Thursday would give them two straight road series wins to open the year. … A crowd of 45,061 was the 141st consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park, including postseason games.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)