Baseball / Sports

Mets top Phillies in 11 innings

NEW YORK -- For the 133rd time Sunday, Cole Hamels stared at Wil Nieves. The catcher signaled for a sinker, and Hamels fired a 92-mph pitch that jammed Chris Young. He skied one to center, where Tony Gwynn Jr. shuffled his feet to snare the lazy fly. Hamels exited with grace.

The Phillies extended Hamels to rare lengths in Sunday's 5-4 loss to New York because there was little behind him. Roberto Hernandez, who threw 99 pitches Friday, became Ryne Sandberg's closer Sunday once Antonio Bastardo failed.

Four hours and 22 minutes of baseball generated a dispiriting, 11-inning defeat. Hamels threw more pitches than any Phillies starter in a decade but his bullpen robbed him of a victory. Questions about Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies' $50 million unused closer, lingered.

The Mets won it in the 11th with Jeff Manship pitching. They loaded the bases on two infield singles and an intentional walk. Ruben Tejada lined a Manship sinker to left. Game over.

A thin bullpen handicapped Sandberg. Papelbon, Mike Adams and Jake Diekman each appeared in the previous two games. Papelbon, who worked three straight games earlier in April, threw 21 pitches in the last two days. Something was not right Sunday.

That made Bastardo the de facto closer. He lasted four batters in the ninth, allowed a two-run Daniel Murphy homer, and put the tying run at second. It scored against Hernandez on a Juan Lagares dribbler to short.

The relievers spoiled Hamels' impressive afternoon. The last Phillies starter to throw more pitches was Eric Milton on June 19, 2004. Hamels' 133 pitches were the most in the majors this season. They marked a new career high.

It was a remarkable showing, especially considering how Hamels pitched under duress for much of Mother's Day. Hamels may not pitch again until Saturday; two scheduled off days this week allowed the Phillies to squeeze their $144 million ace, who missed the first four weeks of the season with biceps tendinitis.

New York cracked him for a run in the first on a broken-bat hit. They threatened for the remainder of the afternoon. Hamels pitched with a runner in scoring position in five of his seven innings. He struck out 10.

Hamels embodied perseverance. The Mets lineup, long his nemesis, was 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position against Hamels. They loaded the bases in the fourth with one out and never plated a run. The lefthander finished six innings at 111 pitches, which would have been enough on a normal day.

The seventh inning presented challenges in Daniel Murphy and David Wright, two Mets who have scalded Hamels over the years. First was Eric Young Jr., who tapped one to Cody Asche. The third baseman hesitated and made a routine play close. First-base umpire Todd Tichenor called Young out. The outfielder jumped and waved for his manager, Terry Collins, to challenge.

Replays were inconclusive. Hamels lingered on the mound. He tossed a few to stay warm, although it was perfunctory at this point. A 2-minute, 32-second review confirmed the call.

Murphy followed. He smashed Hamels' 122nd pitch to the gap in right-center for a double. Wright struck out looking on a beautiful pitch inside. Young flied to center.

Chase Utley even padded the Phillies' lead in the ninth with a run-scoring triple. Still, it was not enough for this leaky bullpen.

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