The Mets avoided a sweep by the Phillies in Philadelphia today, beating the Phils by a score of 7-4. Mike Pelfrey (7-10) got the win, Kyle Kendrick (7-6) took the loss. Bobby Parnell got the final three outs to record his first save.
Pelfrey threw 125 pitches in 6 innings, a lot of them of the “high stress” variety. Pelfrey darted in and out of trouble all game long, but ended up surrenduring only 3 runs, all in the second inning. A gutsy performance by Pelf, who exchanged words with Placido Polanco in the sixth following an inside slider. Polanco popped out to RF on the next pitch. In his Mets tenure, Pelfrey has been nothing if not durable – this isn’t the first time he’s turned in a high pitch count performance for New York.
Bobby Parnell made his long-awaited debut as a closer, walking 2, but getting out of trouble, with the help of 2 strikeouts, to get the save. It was a K-Roddian performance. Who knows, maybe Parnell is the kind of pitcher that thrives on ninth-inning adrenaline, ala Billy Wagner. Manny Acosta turned in a refreshingly solid middle-relief outing, holding the Phillies runless for 1.2 innings.
Nick Evans led the offense, going 3 for 4 with 3-run homer (2) in the first, and fell a triple short of the cycle. Evans has 5 hits in his last 6 at bats, taking advantage of his new starting role at first base. David Wright added an opposite-field solo shot (11) in the third. He also finished 3 for 4. The Mets pounded out 11 hits, but also committed 3 errors. In particular, Ruben Tejada and Justin Turner seem to have had trouble turning the double play over the past few games.
The Phillies collected 12 hits of their own, but could only muster 3 runs against Pelfrey and 1 against Tim Byrdak.
The controversy in the sixth came when the Mets thought Polanco tried to extend his elbow out to intentially get hit by Pelfrey’s slider. This prompted Phillies announcer Gary Matthews, and father of failed Met Gary Matthews, Jr., to call the Mets “crybabies.” Pelfrey responded post game by reportedly saying he was called worse by Mets fans pregame. Said Pelfrey, “You might be a nice guy. Try volleyball.” The Phillies’ puzzling obsession with the Mets seems never-ending, no matter how many games separate the two teams.
But the real story was Pelfrey’s performance on the mound. He had more ground outs than fly outs, and pitched to contact – sometimes a little too much contact. But he didn’t whither in the face of adversity, and pitched with a competitive fire en route to helping the Mets break their 5-game losing streak.