This series vs. the Marlins might be a homecoming for several Mets players, but it hasn’t been very hospital to Mets pitching.
Hisanori Takahashi was the latest victim of the hot, humid weather in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the Mets lost their second game of the series, 7-6.
The Mets actually took the early lead with three runs in the first three innings. In the first, Puerto Rican native Angel Pagan, who has been battling muscle spasms, and David Wright both singled. Jason Bay hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Pagan for the first run. Wright had three more hits tonight, raising his average to .310.
In the third, Ruben Tejada hit a leadoff single. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Takahashi. Jose Reyes got his only hit of the night, doubling in Tejada. Pagan then hit a sac fly to drive in Reyes to put the Mets up 3-0.
That’s when it all fell apart for Takahashi. He allowed two home runs, a grand slam by Hanley Ramirez and a two-run shot by Dan Uggla. It was the second straight game in which the Mets starting pitcher allowed five or more runs. It was also the eighth grand slam allowed by Mets pitchers this season. Takahashi pitched 5 2/3 innings before Elmer Dessens relieved him.
Neither team would score again until the seventh inning when Tejada drove in Fernando Tatis in what started as a promising inning. However, Ike Davis and Reyes both struck out to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Mets tied the game. Rod Barajas hit a leadoff single. Instead of pinch running for Barajas, Jerry Manuel opted to keep him on the bases. Pinch hitter Chris Carter then doubled, but he could not advance to third behind a lumbering Barajas, who only made it to third base.
Alex Cora then came into the game to run for Carter. Jeff Francoeur grounded out to second, but it drove in Barajas. Josh Thole then drove in Cora on another single, so Manuel’s decision to not pinch run for Barajas seemed to work out.
What didn’t work out for Manuel was his decision to pitch Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth inning when the Mets were down two runs. The thought was K-Rod needed the work. He retired the side in order, but it made him unavailable in the ninth because he was pinch hit for. Although, it’s unlikely K-Rod would have pitched the ninth anyway as it was a tie game at that point.
That left Pedro Feliciano to pitch the ninth. Actually, both Felicianos, who are both Puerto Rican, got into this game. Jesus entered the game in the eighth inning to pinch hit for Pagan.
Pedro was able to strike out the first two batters but then gave up a double to Jorge Cantu. Uggla got the walk-off hit to win it for the Marlins.
The Braves lost, but the Phillies won, so now the top three teams in the division are separated by just 2 1/2 games. Mike Pelfrey hopes to salvage a win in Puerto Rico on Wednesday night. The Marlins have now beaten the Mets in six straight games away from Citi Field.
In other news, Oliver Perez will make his first rehab start Wednesday in Port St. Lucie. From that point, the Mets will have 30 days to decide whether or not to add him to the roster or release him.