Mets fizzle in 9th against rookie, lose to Angels

The New York Mets thought they had a rookie closer on the ropes, until Jordan Walden started snapping off sliders.

Geared up for his 100 mph fastball, they couldn't lay off.

"He's got a great arm," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "To throw that hard and throw strikes, your breaking ball doesn't have to be in the zone."

Walden preserved Joel Pineiro's 100th major league win and the Los Angeles Angels got a sensational catch from speedy center fielder Peter Bourjos in a 4-3 victory Friday night.

Admittedly nervous for his first game in New York, Walden walked his first two batters in the ninth inning before striking out Carlos Beltran, Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan to hold on.

"First and second, no out, 3-4-5, three left-handed hitters, three good fastball hitters," Collins said. "It felt like we were going to do something."

Not this time, and it wasn't even Bourjos who thwarted the rally.

Looking like he was born to play at spacious Citi Field, the 24-year-old Bourjos hit a tiebreaking double and turned in a tremendous grab at the wall — all in the sixth inning.

"On the defensive side sometimes it's tough to impress people," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But Peter just does things every week that open your eyes, and you can see that talent he has and that knack for getting to a baseball. ... I think this game underscores kind of what he's in our lineup for."

Playing under National League rules, the Angels left surging designated hitter Bobby Abreu on the bench in their first game at Citi Field and started their three fastest outfielders.

Bourjos and left fielder Vernon Wells tracked down a few key drives in the vast gaps — and enjoyed every minute of it.

"I'd love to play here," Bourjos said. "A lot of room to cover and I enjoy that, just kind of being able to run, not having to really worry about walls and stuff, especially out in right-center. You're not going to hit a wall for a long time."

Torii Hunter snapped a 2-for-23 slide with three hits, including an RBI single, while Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick each scored twice. The Angels also used some slick defense to improve to 27-10 in interleague road games since 2007 — the best mark in the majors.

Los Angeles has won 28 of its past 40 overall against National League teams.

Pineiro (3-3) had failed six times to earn win No. 100 since his previous victory May 10 against the Chicago White Sox. But he ran into the right opponent Friday, pitching 6 1-3 solid innings to up his record against the Mets to 4-0 with a shutout in seven career starts.

"We all know Pineiro," Pagan said. "He's been around for a long time, and he knows how to make adjustments."

The right-hander, who allowed two runs and six hits, shook off an early line drive to his leg and held nemesis Jose Reyes in check.

Reyes, who began the day leading the majors with a .348 average and 101 hits, entered 7 for 12 (.583) against Pineiro with a homer and a triple. But the speedy leadoff man went 0 for 4 with a ninth-inning walk.

Reyes stole second and Justin Turner walked before Walden recovered to earn his 16th save in 19 chances.

Pagan had a pair of RBI singles for the Mets, back home after a 6-4 road trip.

"We've got to get some rest tonight," Collins said.

With the score tied 2-all, the Angels mounted a two-out rally against Chris Capuano (5-7) in the sixth.

Mark Trumbo reached on an infield single that was bobbled by Reyes at shortstop, putting two on. Bourjos grounded an RBI double that glanced off the glove of Turner at third, giving Los Angeles the lead.

"Those balls are coming back to kill us," Collins said.

Bourjos helped preserve the edge in the bottom half with a leaping catch as he banged into the left-center fence to rob Ronny Paulino, who was leading off the inning. On the mound, Pineiro applauded in appreciation.

Hunter added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Bobby Parnell after Izturis led off with a double.

Paulino drove an RBI double to right-center — far out of Bourjos' reach — to cut it to 4-3 in the eighth. But a sharp grounder by Ruben Tejada was smothered by Trumbo at first, and Scott Downs struck out pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to end the inning.

After the start was delayed 33 minutes by rain, Kendrick doubled in the second and scored on a two-out error by Turner, who rushed a high throw with the speedy Bourjos racing up the line.

Daniel Murphy tripled to open the bottom half and Pagan followed with a tying single.

Wells, who began the night batting .193, ripped an RBI single off Reyes' glove in the third. Pagan's two-out single in the bottom half tied the score again.

NOTES: The Mets went 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position and are 9 for 51 (.176) in the past five games. ... Collins is in his first year as Mets manager. His previous big league managing job was with the Angels from 1997-99 before Scioscia took over in 2000.