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."
Arizona reliever Evan Marshall got Daniel Murphy to ground into a double play with two on to end the seventh, and Brad Ziegler escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth.
Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Aaron Hill doubled off the left-center wall in the second, setting up RBI singles by Martin Prado and Cody Ross.
A day earlier, Hill hit a drive in the same spot that cleared the fence for a two-run homer. The stats from Friday night were washed out when the game was postponed in the fourth inning because of heavy showers, forcing a doubleheader Sunday.
Prado's RBI single in the third came after a throwing error by shortstop Wilmer Flores and made it 3-0 as a light rain fell on and off.
Curtis Granderson hit an RBI double in the Mets third after singles by Murphy and Wright.
Wright connected in the fifth for his third home run of the season.
NOTES: Arizona RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.45) will start Game 1 Sunday against RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 6.97). The Diamondbacks will promote RHP Zeke Spruill from Triple-A to make his season debut in the majors in the second game vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0, 2.14). Matsuzaka hasn't started this year. ... Righty reliever Vic Black will join the Mets as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He throws hard, but can be wild. ... Mets LF Chris Young rammed into the wall padding while catching Hill's drive in the fifth. ... Mets RHP Bartolo Colon turned 41, a day after pitching four innings in the rainout. He's giving up home runs at much higher rate than usual, and Collins said pitch location is the problem. ... Opponents are hitting .355 (21 for 59) against Wheeler with runners in scoring position.