NEW YORK (AP) Stuck in a batting slump all week, the New York Mets seemed unlikely to even get a hit. Scoring? That looked downright impossible.
Yet somehow, they rallied.
The Mets suddenly struck for three runs in the ninth inning against Philadelphia’s makeshift bullpen minus closer Jonathan Papelbon, then ended a five-game skid by beating the Phillies 5-4 Sunday on Ruben Tejada’s single in the 11th.
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”Desperate? You can call it desperate if you want to, but we have to stay positive,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”I don’t know, `standing on the edge of the cliff’ probably is a better way to describe it.”
Down 4-1 with only three outs left, the punchless Mets fought back, sparked by Daniel Murphy’s two-run homer. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Papelbon was sore and unavailable to pitch in a third straight game.
”The daily grind of the season,” Papelbon said. ”It’s just kind of a product of the last couple of games.”
Lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo and Roberto Hernandez – who started Friday night – quickly let the Phillies’ lead slip away.
In the 11th, Chris Young opened with an infield single, barely beating the flip from second baseman Chase Utley’s glove. The Mets sent up pitcher Zack Wheeler as a pinch-hitter, and he put down a perfect sacrifice bunt that moved Young to second.
Juan Lagares drew an intentional walk and Anthony Recker loaded with the bases with another infield hit stopped by diving third baseman Reid Brignac. Tejada won it with one out, hitting a sharp single to left-center against Jeff Manship (1-1).
Tejada’s teammates chased him down in short right field to celebrate.
”It feels pretty good after a rough week for me and the team,” said Tejada, who recently lost his starting job at shortstop.
Scott Rice (1-1) got Brignac on a grounder with two runners on to finish the 11th.
Held to a total of nine runs in their previous five games, the Mets began their comeback in the ninth when Eric Young Jr. led off with a double and Murphy followed with a home run that made it 4-3.
Chris Young ended his 0-for-18 slump by hitting a one-out double off the wall, and Hernandez emerged from the bullpen – he threw 99 pitches in the series opener.
Pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu singled off the glove of a diving Utley, and a slow grounder by Lagares drove in the tying run.
When Tejada came up in the 11th, he said he had one thought in mind: ”Finish the game.”
The Mets’ comeback denied Cole Hamels his elusive first win of the year and the 100th of his career. He struck out 10 in seven innings while throwing a whopping 133 pitches, the most by any major leaguer since San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum tossed 148 in his no-hitter last July 13.
The Mets started quickly when Young Jr. led off with a single and stole second, Murphy walked and David Wright hit an RBI single.
NOTES: A day after making his debut, the Mets’ Eric Campbell singled for his first big league hit. … Jonathon Niese struck out twice, leaving Mets pitchers 0 for 63 at the plate this year. … The four-game Subway Series begins Monday night at Yankee Stadium with Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (2-5, 5.36 ERA) facing RHP Hiroki Kuroda (2-3, 4.43). The teams play twice in the Bronx before shifting across town for two more at Citi Field. The Mets went 4-0 against the Yankees last year. … Lefty-hitting Curtis Granderson didn’t start vs. Hamels, but Collins said the outfielder would be in the lineup Monday night. It will be Granderson’s first game in the Bronx since leaving the Yankees in the offseason, signing with the Mets and saying: ”A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans.” … Several players swung pink bats on Mother’s Day to support the fight against breast cancer. In keeping with the day’s theme, Mets reliever Carlos Torres asked the team to play the hip-hop song ”Dear Mama” by the late Tupac Shakur over the PA system if he got into the game Sunday. Torres didn’t pitch. … It was Bark at the Park Day to support pet rescue and adoption. Many fans brought their dogs for a pregame parade around the warning track. Not barking was longtime Mets hot dog vendor Willie B, popular for his loud woofing in the second deck. He said his back was hurting, so he was carrying a lighter tray of pretzels. Real dogs are allowed to sit with their owners in the right-field porch at these Bark events – on those days, Willie B says he instead refers to his usual wares as ”frankfurters, out of respect.”