Mike Pelfrey is not pitching in the manner expected of a No. 1 starter — and he knows it.
Pelfrey gave up Michael Martinez's first career homer, a three-run shot, and was outpitched by Kyle Kendrick, who helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their seventh straight series win with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday.
"I have to go out there and get people out. I have to put up zeros," Pelfrey said. "Whether if we have the world out there or we didn't have anybody out there, I have to put up zeros. I have to get outs. That's my job. I can't be giving up hits to the pitcher. I can't be giving up three-run homers. That's unacceptable."
Pelfrey and the Mets could at least be getting one of their stars back in the next few days. The majors leading hitter, Jose Reyes is set to test his left hamstring in a rehabilitation game for Class-A Brooklyn on Monday and could return Tuesday if all goes well. Reyes said he felt great after running the bases Sunday.
Even without Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Ike Davis the Mets are 46-46.
"I thought the guys fought hard today," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We just didn't pitch today. That was the difference."
Kendrick singled twice and scored on Martinez's drive in the fifth inning off Pelfrey (5-9). Martinez, a Rule 5 pick from Washington, added a sacrifice fly in the seventh for a career-high four RBIs.
Ryan Howard hit a run-scoring single in the first and Philadelphia took two of three from the NL East rival Mets for the fourth time this season. Jimmy Rollins had a two-run single in a three-run eighth aided by Jason Bay's error in left field and reliever Pedro Beato's three walks.
Those eighth-inning runs provided a needed cushion when the Mets took advantage of four walks and a hit batter to score three in the bottom half — Kendrick left after the seventh.
Kendrick (5-4) continued his dominance of division opponents, improving to 4-1 in 11 games — four starts — this season. A day after the makeshift Mets roughed up Cole Hamels in an 11-2 rout, Kendrick pitched like one of his more accomplished staffmates.
Until the seventh, when pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit an RBI single, Kendrick shut down New York anytime he found himself in trouble.
He gave up a leadoff double to Lucas Duda in the second but then induced three straight groundball outs. A leadoff walk in the third was quickly wiped out by a double play. He then retired nine of 10 before Ronny Paulino doubled to open the seventh.
Kendrick gave up six hits in seven innings, walking three.
"You get in jams, you just have to get yourself out," Kendrick said.
Beltran was out with the flu for the second straight game and Collins again tried to take advantage of a favorable matchup with his fill-in. Hairston subbed for Beltran Saturday because of his success against Hamels and drove in five runs. This time Willie Harris got the call based on his .316 average against Kendrick.
Batting third, he had a single and a double but was stranded in scoring position each time by Bay, and walked and scored in the eighth.
Philadelphia again got the best of Pelfrey. The big right-hander began the season as the ace in place of the injured Johan Santana but he has not been able to find any consistency.
After two solid starts in July, he gave up four runs in five innings Sunday. Pelfrey fell to 0-2 with a 9.47 ERA against the Phillies this season.
"Their pitching is pretty unbelievable," Pelfrey said. "Besides that they have those guys in that lineup that can hurt you anytime."
Pelfrey most certainly wasn't thinking of Martinez, a 28-year-old rookie playing for injured All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco. But it was the Martinez who got the big hit in the fifth after Kendrick and Rollins singled in the fifth. The switch-hitter, batting lefty, hit a drive that just cleared the angled wall in right field for a 4-0 lead.
Martinez had a sacrifice fly in the seventh for a 5-0 lead.
"It was just a matter of getting an opportunity," Martinez said. "I'm getting that opportunity now."
Booed all day, Bay came in on Howard's sinking liner and the ball hit off the top of his glove for an error to start the eighth.
"I missed it," Bay said. "It's one of those things where I missed it."
Beato walked three around to foul outs with pinch-hitter Ross Gload taking a free pass to push in a run. Rollins followed with his third hit scoring two needed runs.
Juan Perez relieved Kendrick and walked the only three batters he faced. Ryan Madson entered and got Duda to hit into a double play that scored a run. Paulino followed with an RBI single. Madson hit Ruben Tejada with a pitch, walked Nick Evans and gave up a run-scoring single to Angel Pagan before giving way to Antonio Bastardo, who struck out Justin Turner with the bases loaded.
While Bastardo warmed up, the Mets showed a highlight of the U.S. women's team scoring a goal against Japan in the World Cup final on the video board.
Bastardo gave up an RBI triple to Duda in the ninth but finished for his sixth save.
NOTES: The Mets left 11 on base. ... Wright (lower back) played his third rehab game for Class-A St. Lucie, going 2 for 4 with a double, a walk and an RBI against Clearwater. He was the designated hitter and played the entire game.