New York Mets
Jon Niese allowed six earned runs in four innings and the Mets will arrive in New York at .500 after an 11-0 rubber-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
The earned runs surrendered by Niese were one shy of the career-high seven he allowed on Aug. 26, 2010, against the Florida Marlins. Niese had seven strikeouts, also one shy of matching a career high.
Roy Halladay tossed seven scoreless innings against the Mets.
Philadelphia won, 10-0, against the Mets with Halladay on the mound at Citizens Bank Park last May 1, when Mike Pelfrey was handed his lone loss in his first 10 decisions of 2010.
Thursday’s defeat marked the Mets’ most lopsided shutout loss since falling 11-0 to the Braves on July 17, 2009, also in a game started by Pelfrey.
• DRIVE STALLS AT FIVE: Ike Davis’ streak of driving in runs in five straight games to open the season ended Thursday, one shy of matching the franchise record of six straight games set by David Wright in 2006.
Wright and Davis consecutively missed third-inning RBI opportunities against Halladay in the series finale against the Phillies, which proved costly.
With the bases loaded and one out in a scoreless game, Halladay struck out Wright, then retired Davis on a groundout to second baseman Wilson Valdez.
Davis also stranded Jose Reyes in scoring position in the first with an inning-ending flyout.
• FUTILITY: Despite the leadoff hitter reaching base in each of the first four innings, the Mets did not score during that span. The futility included Josh Thole being called out on strikes to end the fourth, which stranded Angel Pagan at third base. Thole jumped backward on the full-count pitch from Halladay and disputed the call by plate umpire Mike Everitt.
New York Mets
• NARROW MISS: Reyes made a stellar play by ranging to his left to field Valdez’s grounder to open the bottom of the third. The shortstop then spun and fired to Davis at first base. Davis wanted an out call, but first base ump Mark Wegner ruled Valdez safe.
After Halladay bunted Valdez to second -- Niese had failed on a sac bunt attempt and struck out in the top half of the inning -- Shane Victorino drove in Valdez with a single to center to open the game’s scoring. The Phillies grabbed a 2-0 lead when Placido Polanco followed with an RBI double off the left-field wall, prompting a visit to the mound by pitching coach Dan Warthen.
• BACK OUT: Daniel Murphy made his first appearance in the outfield in a major league game since May 19, 2009 at Dodger Stadium when -- after he entered as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning -- Terry Collins kept Murphy in the game in left field in place of Willie Harris. Harris had made the final out, so Pedro Beato entered in Harris’ No. 2 slot in the order.
Murphy’s crash course in the outfield under the old regime in ’09 abruptly ended in Los Angeles that day, after he dropped Juan Pierre’s opposite-field sinking liner for his third outfield error of the season. He immediately was converted to first base.
Murphy did have a communication issue with Pagan in his opening inning back in the outfield, as they converged on Carlos Ruiz’s fly ball in left-center. Pagan ultimately made the grab while avoiding a collision.
Murphy departed after playing two innings in left field on a double-switch.
• PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS: Reyes reached base to lead off the game for the fourth straight game. He also had a broken-bat single in the third inning. He went 2-for-3 against Halladay, which made him 10-for-22 (.455) with a walk in his career against the ace.
• WHAT’S THE WORD? Tim Byrdak, signed as Pedro Feliciano’s replacement in large part to neutralize the Phillies’ left-handed batters, served up a two-run homer in the seventh to Raul Ibanez.
• K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear. He has finished one of the Mets’ first six games. He needs 54 games finished in the team’s final 156 games in order for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.
• NEXT: R.A. Dickey takes on Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann in the Mets’ home opener at Citi Field.