NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After losing three of their first five games last year, the Mets won 11 straight and went on to capture their first NL pennant since 2000.
They also started 2-3 in 1986 before winning 11 in a row and going on to the franchise’s second — and thus far last — World Series title.
“I think that it goes to show you that we don’t need to get off to that incredibly fast start to be successful,” Mets captain David Wright said after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. “We’d like to be 3-2 rather than 2-3, but we got a long way to prove ourselves, to make sure we do the small things and start winning some of these close games rather than losing.”
Odubel Herrera hit a two-run homer off Matt Harvey in the first appearance at Citi Field for the Mets ace since he failed to close out Game 5 of last year’s World Series. Philadelphia won the last two games of the three-game series after an 0-4 start and already has more wins at Citi Field this season than last year (1-8).
The Mets wore replicas of the uniforms used by their 1986 World Series champions, with royal blue and orange racing stripes, outfits that will be sported for Sunday home games this year. But they have hit more like their offensively challenged early 1960s version: a .180 batting average and 14 runs scored.
A day after getting just three hits in a 1-0 loss, New York was held to four hits by Jeremy Hellickson (1-0) and three relievers. Yoenis Cespedes’ two-run homer in the sixth, which cut the deficit to 3-2, stopped a 15-inning scoreless streak.
“I see us chasing a lot of pitches, but the ones we’re getting we’re not hitting,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I think the at-bats are pretty good. We’re just not getting the barrel on the ball and therefore we’re not doing any damage.”
Hellickson held the Mets hitless until Cespedes lined an opposite-field single to right in the fourth. He had a 3-0 lead before Wright doubled with two out in the sixth and Cespedes chased him with a homer on a changeup, the 11th pitch of the at-bat.
“The more games we play, each day it’s going to be getting better,” Cespedes said through a translator. “I’ll be making more adjustments, hopefully, and that’ll make the difference.”
Cespedes entered 2 for 16 with no RBIs.
“He is going to be fine,” Collins said. “I realize there is always panic and drama here, and it’s part of, it goes with the territory of being in this town.”
Pitching on the Citi Field mound for the first time since Collins allowed him to try to finish a shutout against Kansas City, Harvey (0-2) reached 97 mph with his fastball and started 19 of 25 hitters with strikes. But he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings and has struck out three batters or fewer in consecutive games for the first time in his big league career.
“I felt like I was kind of back where I wanted to be and mechanically I was pretty sound,” Harvey said. “I just made a mistake there, and unfortunately today it got us.”
Harvey fell behind in the third when Peter Bourjos reached on an infield hit by beating Wright’s slightly offline throw on a slow roller to third and then scored on Freddy Galvis’ sacrifice fly. Harvey retired 10 straight batters before Cesar Hernandez singled in the sixth.
Herrera homered on a low slider with little break, the ball landing between the new fence in right-center that was erected for the 2015 season and the original wall.
“He was sailing along. It’s the same thing the other day in Kansas City, got off to a good start and all of a sudden he hit a wall,” Collins said. “I don’t know if it’s the adrenaline or the pitch count or whatever it is.”
Mets leadoff man Curtis Granderson went 0 for 4 and is 1 for 20 this season
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom will miss his scheduled start against Miami on Wednesday because of a sore muscle in his right side. He will be replaced by Logan Verrett, who allowed pinch hitter Andres Blanco’s RBI double in the ninth … LHP Josh Edgin made his first injury rehabilitation appearance following Tommy John surgery in March 2015, starting and throwing 27 pitches while getting two outs for Class A St. Lucie. He allowed one run and one hit.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz is scheduled for his season debut Monday in a series opener against Miami. He was 4-0 as a rookie last year.
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