Defensive gaffe keys Phillies' 7-4 loss to Mets
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The short-handed Phillies are finding ways to lose, and manager Charlie Manuel thinks his players need to relax.
"I think we're tight, I think we try too hard," Manuel said after Philadelphia's 7-4 loss to the New York Mets Tuesday night. "That's why we chase bad balls out of the strike zone ahead in the count, that's why we swing at first-pitch bad balls and so on. I think we're trying too hard."
Philadelphia, playing all season without injured All-Stars Chase Utley (knee) and Ryan Howard (Achilles') was ahead 4-1 before the Mets took the lead in the seventh with four two-out runs on four hits and a pivotal miscue by the Phillies.
Lucas Duda's single to right off Antonio Bastardo (1-2) drove in David Wright with the go-ahead run for New York.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis' RBI single to right scored Jordany Valdespin and pulled the Mets to 4-2. Chad Qualls replaced starter Joe Blanton and gave up a single to right by Wright that drove in Andres Torres. Hunter Pence's throw home wasn't cut off by first baseman John Mayberry Jr. and Wright got caught in a rundown between first and second base.
However, after Jimmy Rollins threw to first while second base was uncovered, second baseman Pete Orr tried to get Nieuwenhuis off the bag at third, but his throw bounced past third baseman Placido Polanco, allowing Nieuwenhuis to score and Wright to reach third.
"It should've been a better throw," Orr said.
Duda followed with his tiebreaking hit.
"It was a good job by Wright to keep in the rundown," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That was one of those things that went our way tonight."
The Mets added two runs in the ninth on Nieuwenhuis's sacrifice fly and Duda's single.
"Our bullpen has to pitch better or get better," Manuel said.
Manny Acosta (1-2) didn't allow a run or hit in two-thirds of an inning in the sixth in relief of starter Miguel Batista. Jon Rauch got the last three outs in his first save opportunity of the season.
Duda and Wright had two hits and two RBIs each to help the Mets win their fourth straight and 10th come-from-behind victory this season.
"We've been doing it for the past couple of weeks," Duda said. "Luckily the ball found some spots. The team battled, that's what we want to do all season."
Pence homered for the Phillies.
The strange turn of events in the seventh inning spoiled a decent outing by Blanton, who entered the seventh having allowed one run on three hits. He was charged with four runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out seven and walking three.
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