Mets Drop Home Opener To Phillies, 5-2
By Dan Miller
The Mets sent Oliver Perez (1-0) to face Jamie Moyer (0-0) and the Philadelphia Phillies in this 45th and final opening day at Shea Stadium. The Mets will open the 2009 MLB season at their new home, Citi Field, seen under construction just beyond the centerfield wall.
Carlos Delgado brought the Mets Opening Day fans to their feet by hitting a home run against the lower part of the Shea Stadium scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning, giving the Mets the first score of the game and a 1-0 lead. The Mets scored again in the bottom of the fourth on hits by Carlos Beltran, Delgado and Jose Pagan, loading the bases. Pagan followed with a ground out fielder’s choice, scoring Beltran and giving the Mets a 2-0 lead after four innings.
Perez got into trouble in the top of the fifth by walking the opposing pitcher, Jamie Moyer, putting runners at first and second with only one out. He then got Jimmy Rollins (.300) to ground into a force out and centerfielder Shane Victorino to pop up to shortstop Jose Reyes, ending the inning.
The Phillies began to rile Perez in the top of the sixth. With two out and nobody on base, Perez walked left fielder Pat Burrell and balked him to second. A wild pitch put Burrell on third. Perez then walked the next batter, putting runners on second and third. Perez left the game after 5-2/3 innings, leading 2-0 and giving up three hits.
Joe Smith was called on by Manager Willie Randolph to stop the Phillies before they put any runs on the board. Smith faced third baseman Pedro Feliz and walked him, loading the bases and bringing catcher Carlos Ruiz to the plate. Luckily for Smith and the Mets, Ruiz grounded out weakly to shortstop Reyes, who tossed the ball to second for the force out and the end of the Phillies’ threat. The Mets still led 2-0 going to the bottom of the sixth.
Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis came in to pitch the top of the seventh and was replaced by Jorge Sosa. The Phillies beat up the Mets bullpen and scored three runs on three hits to take the lead, 3-2.
The Mets’ first batter in the seventh, Brian Schneider, reached first on a single but was on the first end of a 6-6-3 double play on a ground out by pinch hitter Endy Chavez.
Aaron Heilman came in to pitch the eighth. He gave up a walk to Ruiz and a run-scoring single to Rollins, giving the Phils a 4-2 lead. The Phillies added another run in the inning against Heilman, giving them a 5-2 lead which they never gave up. The final score was Philadelphia 5, Mets 2.
The New York Mets, who have played at Shea Stadium since 1964, paid tribute to the man who brought the Mets to Queens. William Shea, a prominent New York attorney, was credited with New York getting a new National League baseball franchise after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants had left for the West Coast. A brief video tribute was paid to Shea and his family was recognized on the field with a pre-game ceremony, Michael Amonte sang the National Anthem.
Today’s attendance, 56, 356, is the largest home attendance in the Mets’ Opening Day history.
The Mets dropped to 2-4 and trail the first place Florida Marlins by 1-1⁄2 games.
The winning pitcher was Jamie Moyer (1-0) and the loser was Scott Schoeneweis (0-1).
The Mets have lost 13 out of the last 19 games vs. Philadelphia, the team that beat out the Mets for the Eastern Division title last season.