NEW YORK (AP) — Daisuke Matsuzaka seemed much more interested in holding the ball than throwing it Wednesday night.
Cole Hamels pitched seven strong innings and handed himself some much-needed run support, sending the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-2 victory over Matsuzaka and the New York Mets.
Working in no hurry whatsoever, Matsuzaka (0-2) labored through 4 1-3 innings on Japanese Heritage Night in his second start for the new-look Mets, who have dropped six of seven. Depleted by key injuries and Tuesday's trade that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh, New York fell to 2-6 on a nine-game homestand.
"Today's game was pretty self-explanatory, I think," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I was all over the place today, all over the zone."
The right-hander took an interminable amount of time between pitches and threw 82 over the first three innings. Hamels worked at a much faster pace but irritated fans by making seven straight tosses to first base with Eric Young Jr. aboard.
Young stole second anyway.
One night after Jonathon Niese's three-hit shutout for the Mets lasted 2 hours, 19 minutes, that's how long it took to play 5½ innings in a game between also-rans that ultimately dragged on for 3:32.
About halfway through, a television camera fixed on Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee spinning a crushed water bottle in the dugout.
"I do know the history of, you know, he does take some time between pitches. But I will tell you, his stuff's good enough," New York manager Terry Collins said about Matsuzaka. "Tonight the command was off and therefore he was off."
While rain postponed several afternoon tennis matches at the U.S. Open next door, the Phillies and Mets stayed dry throughout a drab evening that matched the pace of the game.
The Mets made three errors after going six games without one, which tied a season high.
Carlos Ruiz homered and the Phillies overcame a couple of mental mistakes by Jimmy Rollins to win for only the third time in 17 road games. Hamels hit a two-run single to help Philadelphia improve to 8-5 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg.
Left sitting in the dugout for long stretches, Hamels maintained his focus and walked away a winner after 3½ hours of dreary baseball.
"I'm glad I play it, but I wouldn't be watching it," he said.
Hindered by the fifth-worst run support in the majors this season, Hamels (6-13) worked around nine hits and improved to 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in six August starts. The left-hander struck out eight, walked one and upped his career record to 7-12 against the Mets.
Hamels grounded a two-run single to left field off reliever Robert Carson in the fifth to make it 4-1. That gave Hamels, a career .170 hitter entering the game, four RBIs this season and answered a three-run double by Niese the previous night.