Mets lose to Phillies, head home for opener
PHILADELPHIA – The New York Mets had the bases loaded and the guy they wanted at the plate against Roy Halladay.
They missed a chance to jump ahead early, and never recovered.
Halladay pitched seven sharp innings for his first win of the season, Wilson Valdez had a career-high four hits, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Mets 11-0 Thursday.
Even in a rout, one at-bat can make a difference. For the Mets, that came in the third inning when David Wright stepped to the plate in a scoreless game.
New York had loaded the bases with one out on three singles. But Halladay pitched out of the jam by striking Wright out swinging at a 91 mph cutter, then retiring Ike Davis on a grounder to second.
"We had a chance early, but he's the type of guy if you don't get to him, he's going to get stronger and stronger," Wright said.
Halladay (1-0) allowed six hits and struck out seven. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up one run in six innings in the opener against Houston, and avoided a loss when the Phillies rallied in the ninth for a 5-4 win.
"He probably wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be, but still effective," Wright said. "That's what makes him so good."
The four-time NL East champions are off to a 5-1 start in a season where nothing less than a second World Series title in four years will be considered a success.
New York starter Jonathon Niese (0-1) got roughed up by an offense that's averaging 7.2 runs and 12.7 hits. The left-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings.
The Mets head to Citi Field for their home opener Friday against Washington after splitting a six-game road trip.
"We'll go home, regroup and have the people cheering us instead of booing us," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Valdez, filling in for injured five-time All-Star Chase Utley, finished 4 for 4 with three RBIs, two doubles and two infield singles. He's one of six regulars hitting above .300 in the first six games.
Placido Polanco drove in four runs and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer.
The Phillies got going with a pair of runs in the third. Valdez reached on an infield single up the middle to start the inning. After Halladay sacrificed, Shane Victorino lined an RBI single to center. Victorino advanced to second on center fielder Angel Pagan's throwing error, and scored when Polanco drove a double to deep left.
Ben Francisco started Philadelphia's fourth with a single and Ibanez was hit by a pitch. Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI single and Valdez followed with an RBI double down the first-base line to make it 4-0.
Niese nearly escaped further damage by striking out Halladay and Victorino. But Polanco lined a two-run single, putting Philadelphia up 6-0.
Valdez hit a two-run double in the fifth off Pedro Beato. Ibanez went deep off Tim Byrdak in the seventh.
Halladay has picked up where he left off last year, when he won 21 games in his first season with the Phillies, including a perfect game. He also tossed a no-hitter in his first career postseason start.
The big right-hander has an 0.69 ERA in two outings.
Davis snapped his RBI streak. He drove in at least one run in each of the club's first five games. Wright established the team record with at least one RBI in each of the first six games in 2006.
NOTES: The last time the Mets won their first two road series came in 2002 against the Braves and the Cubs. ... The Mets are 1-5-1 in their last seven series in Philadelphia. ... The leadoff batter for both teams reached in each of the first four innings. Philadelphia's leadoff batter reached in all eight. ... Jose Reyes had two hits off Halladay, improving to 10 for 22 in his career.