Recap by Peter J. Barrett
(LoHud Mets Blog is honored to welcome Pete to our team on an internship. Pete is a talented writer and student at Gettysburg College. To get a sense of his work, check out this piece he wrote for the New York Times’ Quad blog this past winter.)
Jeremy Hefner’s first major league start was a natural disaster. Hefner kept the Padres scoreless through the first two innings Thursday, but returned from an 80 minute rain delay and allowed six runs in the next inning and two thirds.
The Mets were left wondering what could have been if the rain did not come.
On Tuesday, the rain did not start until Hefner’s big day was over, and the Mets defeated the Phillies, 6-3 at Citi Field.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the 26-year-old righty tomahawked a first pitch fastball from Phillies (26-23) starter Joe Blanton over the left field wall. The solo blast was Hefner’s first Major League hit, and the Mets’ (28-23) first home run by a pitcher since Johan Santana went deep in 2010.
Hefner (1-2, 5.60 ERA) picked up his first big league win, as he spread three earned runs over 6 innings, and faced just one big jam.
Juan Pierre led off the top of the 6th with a single to left field. Hunter Pence followed with a rip down the left field line. Mike Baxter scrambled over to the line to cut the ball off, but it hugged the wall, and rolled past his glove.
Pierre scored, and Pence moved to third on the double and error. There were no outs, and the wind started swirling at Citi Field, the game was set to spiral out of control.
However, Hefner buckled down. He forced Ty Wigginton, who reached base in his first six plate appearances of the series, to ground out to Davis. Hefner then struck out Shane Victorino chasing at a high fastball, and fooled Placido Polanco with a 1-0 slider, which the third baseman lazily flied to left field for the final out.
Called up prior to Tuesdays game to replace the injured Justin Turner at shortstop, Omar Quintanilla, who tied his career high with three hits, led off the bottom of the 6th inning with his second double of the night. Rather than have Hefner bunt him over and play for just one run – as the Phillies did in the top of the first inning — Collins called upon his hottest righty bat, Scott Hairston.
Blanton (4-5, 5.05 ERA), who gave up seven runs in each of his last two games, hung an 82 mph change up high in the zone. Hairston hooked it around the left field foul pole for his team leading 6th home run of the season, and has now homered in each of his last three games.
The Mets bullpen, which entered the game with a major league worst 5.16 ERA, pitched three scoreless innings.
Bobby Parnell retired the side in order in the seventh, and after surrendering a leadoff base hit to Jimmy Rollins, setup man Jon Rauch recorded three consecutive outs in the 8th.
An hour rain delay ensued, and Frank Francisco lost his consecutive batters retired streak at 13, but picked up his 6th consecutive save and tied the NL lead with his 14th save of the year.
The rubber game of the series is Wednesday night at Citi Field. Dillon Gee (4-3) matches up against the winless Cliff Lee (0-2) First pitch at 7:10.
Recap Poem by Howard Megdal
Rain, Hefner collide
This time, Hefner’s bat, glove win
Nice start, new Omar!