PHILADELPHIA — Part of the success the Phillies had in sweeping the Houston Astros earlier this week was hitting the long ball.
Philadelphia had one home run in each of the three games in the series, including the eventual game-winner Thursday night.
The Phillies continued that streak, homering in a fourth straight game, however, with a new team in town, the final results were different.
A.J. Burnett didn't have his best stuff and tied a season-high by giving up 11 hits in a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets.
Burnett was cruising right along until the third inning. The right-hander recorded the first two outs of the inning rather quickly but found himself with the bases loaded after a double, walk and single.
He escaped the jam for the time being, getting Lucas Duda to groundout.
The Phillies' starter wasn't as fortunate in the fourth inning. The frame began with four straight hits — three singles and a double by Juan Lagares — to make it 2-0 Mets.
The first out Burnett recorded was opposing pitcher Bartolo Colon striking out on a foul bunt. After that, the Mets had two more singles scoring another two runs. The inning finally came to an end when David Wright grounded into a double play. Although, the damage had been and Philadelphia trailed 4-0.
The Phillies tried to replicate that rally in the bottom half of the inning with Chase Utley leading off with a single, however, that's as far as they would get.
Both Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd flied out to the deepest part of dead center field, before Grady Sizemore flied out to right.
New York came back in the fifth and added an insurance run, that would later prove to be important, with a Travis d'Arnaud homer.
Burnett has struggled against the Mets this year, posting an 8.50 ERA in three starts, and hasn't really found a groove against any team since the All-Star break.
Once again, he found himself getting behind in a lot of counts, which ultimately led to trouble.
"A lot of times tonight, looking up, it was 2-0 or 3-1 pitches," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's got to catch a lot of the plate there and he does. And he tends to elevate in those situations, too. Those are the balls that they hit tonight in that inning. It's more or less falling behind, maybe trying to be too fine early on."
Burnett agreed with that evaluation and is not happy with how things have gone of late.
"That's how it's been the past four [games]," Burnett said. "It's time to move on. It's time to get better. I'm pretty sure they didn't bring me over here to be like this all year, inconsistent. I've got to get the ball back in the zone, get back in my lanes and get the ball back on the corners where it belongs."
On the other side of the diamond the story was the exact opposite. Colon gave the Mets a quality start, something he's done each time out against the Phillies this year.
In his two prior starts against Philadelphia, the 41-year-old went at least seven innings in each outing and was 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA. Friday evening he threw eight innings, giving up six hits and only one run.
Sandberg tried to explain why Colon's been so tough for the club.
"He has movement with his fastball both ways," Sandberg said. "He cuts it in to lefties, cuts it away from right-handers. Sinks it. … He just hits his spots and pitches in on the corners, changes speeds. I think it's been really hard for our hitters to gauge his fastball when it's 87 to 92 [mph] with different movement on his pitches."
Until the final inning, the only offense the Phillies managed was a solo shot by Byrd to lead off the seventh inning. They were unable to get more than one hit in an inning against Colon and Byrd's homer was the only extra base hit the team had.
That all changed in the ninth.
Utley began the inning with a double, followed by a Ryan Howard walk and a Byrd single to load the bases with no outs.
Still with nobody retired, Sizemore came just a few feet shy of a game-tying grand slam, instead, doubling in two runs off the right field fence to cut the Mets' advantage to 5-3.
Cody Asche whittled the deficit to one, knocking in Byrd on a groundout, after Carlos Ruiz flied out to right.
Unlike the previous night against the Astros, however, the Phillies were unable to fully complete the comeback as Reid Brignac ended the game by striking out looking.
Notes: Philadephia's bullpen extended their scoreless streak to 16 2/3 innings. It's their second longest streak of the year, the longest, 17 1/3 innings, coming May 28-31. … Former Phillie Roy Halladay threw out the first pitch to kick off Phillies Alumni Weekend.
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