Cole Hamels looked to continue his recent string of success when he took the hill in New York Saturday, but the Phillies' ace struggled early in a 5-4 loss.
Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a solo drive to right off of Mets starter Zach Wheeler, the 198th of Rollins' career and his 45th career leadoff homer.
Hamels, who had gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts, got a quick out to start his outing, but soon ran into trouble as he allowed five straight batters to reach base. The heat was clearly an issue, as Hamels struggled with his control and was seen wiping off perspiration from his hands throughout the inning.
Daniel Murphy doubled off Hamels with one out, extending his hitting streak to ten games. David Wright followed up by working a walk, and Murphy stole third on ball four. Marlon Byrd hit a single to left to plate Murphy for his 55th RBI of the season, tying the game at one-apiece. Josh Satin then worked a walk to load the bases with still just one out before Juan Lagares hit a bloop single over the head of Darin Ruf to score Wright. Lagares was tagged out on Anthony Recker's grounder to third, but Recker was safe at first as Byrd scored to put New York up 3-1.
The Phillies got two men on in each of the next two innings, but stranded them each time. The Mets only managed one hit during that time, a Byrd single, but nothing else. The single gave Byrd, who has been suprisingly productive this season for New York, his 20th multi-hit game of the year.
Delmon Young singled to lead off the fourth but got stranded following a strikeout and double play. Lagares, similarly, led off the bottom of the inning with a single, but was stranded there after a flyout and two strikeouts.
In the fifth, Hamels and Rollins led off with consecutive singles before Michael Young walked to load the bases with no outs. Chase Utley flew out to left to score Hamels to cut the Met's lead to 3-2. Domonic Brown flew out for the second out before Wheeler walked Ruf to load the bases again. Wheeler, who had thrown 106 pitches in getting 14 outs, was then replaced with Gonzalez Germen, who struck out Delmon Young to end the threat.
Eric Young Jr. led off the bottom of the fifth with a single for New York, and proceeded to steal second base before Murphy's flyout to center moved him to third. Wright followed with a single to center, which scored Young to put the Mets back up by two. Wright was then caught stealing at second before Byrd struck out to end the fifth.
The Phillies went down 1-2-3 against Germen in the sixth. J.C. Ramirez was then brought in to relieve Hamels, who through 94 pitches in his five innings, and retired the side in order, collecting two strikeouts.
In the seventh, Germen retired Rollins on a popup before walking Michael Young. He was then relieved by journeyman reliever Scott Rice, who sat down Utley and Brown to end the top of the inning.
Omar Quintanilla and Ike Davis led off with consecutive walks against Ramirez in the botttom of the inning before Jake Diekman came in to relieve him. Diekman managed to strike out Young for the first out, but allowed Murphy to single into center to drive in Quintanilla, putting New York up 5-2. Luis Garcia was then brought in to replace Diekman, and sat down the next two batters to end the seventh.
LaTroy Hawkins worked around a Delmon Young double to record a scoreless top of the eighth, while Garcia and Antonio Bastardo did the same, striking out two after a Satin groundout and a Lagares double to end the inning.
With closer Bobby Parnell on the hill for New York in the 9th, things didnt look good for the Phillies, who had wasted plenty of chances with men on base all day, but they weren't about to go down without a fight.
After PH Kevin Frandsen and Rollins both grounded out, Michael Young reached on an error by Satin at first, and moved to second on fielder's indifference before Utley drove a Parnell pitch into the right field seats for his 13th home run of the season. With the Mets now up only 5-4, Brown doubled with two outs, but Ruf lined out to second to end the game.
It was a tough game for the for both teams, as the heat was clearly a factor. Ruf was mentioned as not being able to catch up to the ball today, and it wouldn't be suprising if the heat made Wheeler's 95-mph fastballs that much more difficult to catch up to. Other than that, the Phillies made it obvious they weren't scoring another 13 runs today as they continued a season-long trend of stranding runners on base in close/winnable games.
The two teams square off in the decisive game of the series as All-Star pitchers Cliff Lee and Matt Harvey face off tomorrow in New York at 1:10pm.