You knew heading into this game that the New York Mets would be behind the eight ball with Roy Halladay on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies. They'd need a flawless start from Jon Niese to even have a chance against the two-time Cy Young winner.
As unexpected as it may be, Niese was just as good as Halladay but one rough inning was all that mattered and the Mets dropped the pitcher's duel, 2-1.
The Mets got on the board first in the fourth inning, when Carlos Beltran singled home Daniel Murphy. There were two guys on with nobody out but they were unable to get anybody else home and it would haunt them in the end.
For six innings Niese matched Halladay pitch-by-pitch and the Mets held a one-run lead, until the seventh inning when it came undone for Niese. Jon Mayberry Jr. hit a homerun to lead off the seventh inning, then Wilson Valdez singled and Dane Sardinha walked. The left-hander was able to get Halladay to strikeout, but was replaced by Taylor Buchholz afterward to face the top of the Phillies order. With the score tied at 1, Buccholz did Niese no favors as he allowed a SHane Victorino single right off the bat to load the bases. Placido Polanco then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing home what would be the game-winning run.
Despite the loss and the 1-4 record, let's not take away from what was an excellent outing for Niese. He tossed 6 1/3 innings, gave up six hits and two earned runs on the day and has given up two earned runs in three straight outings.
New York had a chance to tie the game up in the eighth and ninth innings, but Halladay shut them down with runners on base. Jose Reyes got on base with a one-out single in the eighth, but Murphy quickly grounded into a double play. Then David Wright walked in the top of the ninth with nobody out, but Beltran lined out, Jason Bay struckout and Ike Davis grounded out.
Halladay was masterful in the complete game, one-run outing. He allowed seven hits and fanned eight this afternoon. After it seemed like the Mets hitters were really rolling, they've managed just four runs in their past two games. It doesn't get any easier tomorrow with Cliff Lee on the mound tomorrow night.
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