NEW YORK (AP) — Zack Wheeler spotted Mets manager Terry Collins coming from the dugout and turned his back. Reluctantly, after throwing 118 pitches on a rainy afternoon, he handed over the ball and left the mound.
"I told him on the bench, 'you pitched good,' and he said, 'I had more in me,'" Collins related after New York lost to Josh Collmenter and the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Saturday.
"I said, 'I know. We also have to realize where we are and the fact that we have to take care of you a little bit,'" Collins said.
Wheeler (1-5) remained winless in his last seven starts. His lone victory came in mid-April when he beat Collmenter in Phoenix.
Collins pulled him after 6 2-3 innings with a runner on third. The 23-year-old Wheeler gave up two earned runs and six hits, striking out seven.
Wheeler's control troubles have hurt him this year. A leadoff walk in the second led to Arizona scoring twice, and Wheeler later hit two batters.
"I was a little bit better with my command today. I was not perfect, of course, but it was better," he said.
"I could have kept going, if it was not for the pitch count or whatever. I felt strong all the way through and kept on telling Terry I was fine every time I came in during the last few innings," he said.
David Wright homered, doubled and singled for the Mets, now 1-9 in their last 10 games decided by one run.
Collmenter (3-2) won his third decision in a row over a span of six starts. The righty with the unusual, straight over-the-top delivery allowed two runs in six innings.
The Mets loaded the bases against him in the first inning before he struck out Lucas Duda. New York is hitting just .143 (6 for 42) with the bases loaded this season.
Duda went 0 for 4. He flied out with runners on second and third to end the third and flied out in the eighth with two on and the Mets down by a run.
"He is our guy in the middle of that lineup that we hope gets up in big situations with guys on base, which he did today and did not drive anybody in," Collins said. "Again, I think it is a part of the game that you have to get through."
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