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Phillies blow chances, lose to Mets

Associated Press Published: May 7, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When the Philadelphia Phillies need a fly ball, they hit a grounder. When they need a grounder, they strike out.

It's been a rough start for the five-time defending NL East champions.

Jordany Valdespin had a pinch-hit three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning for his first major league hit, leading the New York Mets to a 5-2 victory over the Phillies on Monday night.

Before it got to that point, the Phillies blew several chances. They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and had runners on second and third with one out in the eighth — both times against Bobby Parnell — and didn't score.

"We had big chances and couldn't do it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have to get somebody in. We're having trouble doing it. When you don't take advantage of chances, usually something not too good happens."

The Phillies are off to a 14-16 start. They haven't been over .500 since they were 1-0.

David Wright hit a tying two-run double off Roy Halladay in the sixth, and New York won its third straight game.

Valdespin was 0 for 6 before hitting a drive way out to right off Papelbon (0-1). The 24-year-old infielder from the Dominican Republic had appeared in just seven games.

"It was a great moment for me," said Valdespin, who was called up to replace injured shortstop Ruben Tejada. "He's one of the best closers in the big leagues. They called me last night and told me to be ready."

On the same day Tejada was placed on the disabled list, the injury-plagued Mets saw catcher Josh Thole leave after getting elbowed in the head during a collision at the plate. There was no word on Thole's status.

Tim Byrdak (1-0) retired the only batter he faced to get the win. He struck out pinch-hitter Eric Kratz to end the eighth with a runner on third.

Frank Francisco finished for his eighth save.

Halladay bounced back from his worst start in five years and took a one-hitter into the sixth before getting in trouble. Halladay allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out seven. The only batter he walked score.

"I felt good the whole time. I felt I made good pitches," Halladay said. "You have to overcome it and move on."

In a 15-13 extra-inning loss at Atlanta last Wednesday, Halladay gave up 12 hits — one below his career high — and eight runs in 5 1-3 innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner had a 6-0 lead going into the fifth before surrendering six. Halladay left the team the next day for personal reasons.

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