NEW YORK (AP) — With runners on first and third with no outs in the first inning, an ailing Mike Pelfrey appeared headed for another disastrous start. Funny thing is, feeling ill might have been the difference between this outing and all the others this season.
Pelfrey worked out of that jam unscathed and pitched seven gutty innings, and Ike Davis hit a drive that video review turned into a go-ahead two run homer that helped the New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 Friday night.
“I didn’t feel great, that’s probably a big part of it. I didn’t do too much,” said Pelfrey, who threw up but swallowed it while on the mound. “While I was in the bullpen I said, ‘I’m just going to throw strikes. I don’t feel great. We’re going to grind through this and we’re going to get through it.”
Some green tea, warm water with honey, Pepto-Bismol — and a solid dose of effective secondary pitches helped give Pelfrey (1-2) his first win of the season.
Pitching as the No. 1 starter in place of the injured Johan Santana, Pelfrey was dreadful in his first four starts. He had a 9.72 ERA and hadn’t gone past 5 1-3 inning. But in a matchup against a team he was 0-5 against, Pelfrey was in command. He gave up just five hits and a run. He walked two and struck out four.
He gave up a leadoff triple to Chris Young and walked Kelly Johnson but then struck out Justin Upton, and got Stephen drew to pop up to second base and Miguel Montero to fly to left.
“That was a guy who with first and third and nobody out in the first inning absolutely reached inside and said I’m ‘getting out of this’ and absolutely reached inside and said ‘I’m going to get out of this,’ and really pitched — he had a great game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “That first inning set the tone for the whole club.”
Shut down by Joe Saunders for six-plus innings, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson pulled Saunders after he walked David Wright even though Carlos Beltran was 0 for 1 with a walk and Davis had struck out twice against him.
“It was my decision and it didn’t work out for us. I accept that,” Gibson said of pulling Saunders.
Davis hit a drive to straightaway center field off Esmerling Vasquez (0-1) that appeared to hit above the orange line on the black wall.
Wright scored. Davis stopped at second and waved his finger, questioning if it were a home run.
After the umpires went off for 1 minute, 40 seconds, crew chief Gerry Davis emerged from the tunnel under the third base stands and gave the homer sign.
“When I hit it I thought I got it good,” Davis said. “You never know with this field.”
It set off an enthusiastic cheer from the bundled up crowd on a 45-degree night that Gibson pregame dismissed as “fun,” not cold.
The run off Vasquez was the first earned run off Arizona relievers in 21 1-3 innings and gave the Mets their third win in five games. The Mets added two unearned runs in the eighth thanks to errors by reliever Juan Gutierrez and third baseman Ryan Roberts.
“He’s done a great job for us — tonight he missed his spot and he paid for it,” Saunders said of Vasquez.
Jason Isringhausen worked a scoreless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez finished for his third save.
Saunders came in with a 0-2 record and a 6.32 ERA this season, but he feasted off a team hitting just .212 against lefties. He gave up two hits and a run in six-plus innings.
“In my two at-bats against him he didn’t throw a ball over the corner of the plate,” Davis said. “He was just corner to corner to corner. When a pitcher does that you got to tip your cap.”
Mets center fielder Angel Pagan went on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and the Mets called up Jason Pridie from Triple-A Buffalo for his defense.
But the first two balls hit his way just eluded his glove and he had trouble picking up the ball after Young’s drive leading off the game one-hopped the wall.
The Diamondbacks scored in the third when Johnson’s drive to left-center was just out of Pridie’s reach, landing for a double. Upton followed with a double to shallow right that a sliding Beltran could not reach for a run.
Beltran had an RBI single with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Mets were 4 for 19 in that situation coming in.
NOTES: Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams, sidelined with a broken foot since spring training, was out on the field pregame practicing in the third base box. Bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock has been filling in. … Mets C Ronny Paulino left his rehab start with Buffalo because of tightness in his left oblique. He will take off Saturday and be reevaluated Sunday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)