Hamels looks to win a third straight decision while the Philadelphia Phillies ' lineup hopes for yet another big game at the Mets' expense Saturday at Citi Field.
Much of the season's first half saw Hamels (4-11, 4.05 ERA) put up uncharacteristically poor results. He lost six straight starts at one point and recorded a 4.58 ERA through his first 17 outings while throwing at least seven innings only five times.
But he owns a 1.57 ERA over his last three starts, going at least seven innings in each.
The left-hander gave up two runs over eight innings Sunday and would have claimed a victory for the third straight start if not for Jonathan Papelbon 's blown save in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Hamels has also issued one walk over his last 23 innings after previously averaging 2.8 per nine.
"To put the team in situations where we win, that's ultimately the big idea," he said. "(Earlier in the season) I was a little wild and not able to pitch deep in ballgames."
Hamels saw mixed results while splitting two outings versus New York, giving up one run and six walks over six innings in a 5-1 road victory April 28 and four runs in six innings in a 4-3 home loss June 21.
He's 4-4 with a 5.26 ERA in his last 11 starts against the Mets. Hamels held them to two runs or fewer five times during that stretch but also gave up four runs or more six times.
Poor run support was also part of the reason for Hamels' 2-11 start, as he received an average of 3.1 runs in his first 17 games. However, he won't have anything to worry about if the Phillies continue to hit the Mets like they have been this year.
Friday's 13-8 win marked the fifth time Philadelphia has scored seven or more runs in the teams' 10 meetings, with the Phillies (49-48) winning seven times. The series-opening victory was their seventh straight at Citi Field and pushed them above .500 for the first time since a 31-30 mark June 6.
Eleven of the Phillies' runs came in the first three innings.
"After four days off, to see the bats come alive like that, that was good to see," said Brown, whose 24th home run tied him with Pedro Alvarez for the NL's second-most.
Trying to keep Philadelphia in check will be rookie Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54), who's won two straight starts while allowing two earned runs in 12 innings. In his last outing he knocked off San Francisco, the team that originally drafted him in 2009 before he was traded in 2011, by yielding one run and three hits over seven innings July 10.
"That's the best all-around stuff I've seen," manager Terry Collins said of Wheeler, who retired 14 of the first 16 batters he faced.
|July 14, 2013||Ben Revere||15-Day DL||Broken right foot - out 6-8 weeks|
|July 13, 2013||Ben Revere||Day-to-Day||Broken right foot|
|July 06, 2013||Ryan Howard||15-Day DL||Left knee inflammation|
|June 24, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|June 23, 2013||Michael Stutes||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|June 22, 2013||Jonathan Pettibone||Day-to-Day||Back|
|New York Mets|
|July 13, 2013||LaTroy Hawkins||Day-to-Day||Sore right triceps|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|July 08, 2013||Shaun Marcum||Day-to-Day||Right hand numbness|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 21, 2013||Jonathon Niese||15-Day DL||Partially torn left rotator cuff|
|June 20, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder discomfort|
NEW YORK (AP) -- The rookie pitcher who got the biggest outs for the Mets on Saturday was not the one with all the hype.
Gonzalez Germen came in from the bullpen to bail out Zack Wheeler and help New York hold on for a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies .
Marlon Byrd , David Wright and Daniel Murphy each had an RBI single for the Mets, who handed Cole Hamels his latest defeat and snapped Philadelphia's seven-game winning streak at Citi Field. Another rookie, Juan Lagares , had a run-scoring single among his three hits.
Germen (1-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam and struck out three in 1 2-3 hitless innings for his first major league win.
"He did an amazing job," Byrd said. "That could be a scary lineup to face when you're a young kid."
Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff homer, and Chase Utley had a two-run shot in the ninth for the Phillies. They put the potential tying run on second before Bobby Parnell retired Darin Ruf on a game-ending liner to second.
The series finale Sunday features a marquee matchup of All-Star pitchers: Mets ace Matt Harvey against lefty Cliff Lee .
Wheeler wiggled out of early trouble in his sixth major league start, but the prized right-hander needed 106 pitches to get through 4 2-3 innings in 93-degree heat.
"I just told him to hang in there. I just said, `Look, you can only do it as best you can for as long as you can,"' Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You could just tell he was out of gas. Yeah, I could have let him go one more hitter, but we're trying to win games, too."
Hamels (4-12) allowed three runs in a 35-pitch first inning and was pulled for a pinch-hitter after five. The three-time All-Star and 2008 World Series MVP leads the NL in losses.
Hamels has always had trouble with the Mets. The left-hander, who was 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three previous July starts, dropped to 6-12 in 24 outings against them.
Coming off a gem in San Francisco but pitching for the first time in 10 days, Wheeler gave up a two-strike single to Hamels to start the fifth. The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out, but all they managed was Utley's sacrifice fly.
All-Star slugger Domonic Brown flied out on a 3-0 pitch. Wheeler walked Ruf to load the bases again - and was lifted one out short of qualifying for a win.
Wheeler kept his back to Collins as the manager marched to the mound, then handed over the ball and disappeared down the dugout runway. Collins followed moments later, and Wheeler was back on the bench to greet Germen with a high-five after he struck out streaking Delmon Young to preserve a 3-2 lead.
"Right now, the kid's doing his job," Young said. "He's been pitching in big situations."
Collins said he didn't want Wheeler to be trailing when he came out. In his only other outing at home, the 23-year-old was beaten by Washington 13-2.
"That was definitely tough. I wanted to get through that inning," Wheeler said. "Not just for the win, but just to get out of that jam so we didn't have to use the bullpen earlier than we had to.
"My pitch count was high, and I guess Terry thought that was the right time to take me out. It worked out for us."
Wright hit a run-scoring single in the fifth, and Murphy added his RBI single in the seventh. LaTroy Hawkins worked the eighth, and Parnell got three outs for his 18th save despite allowing Utley's second homer in two days.
It was the first home run given up by Parnell since Aug. 4, 2012, at San Diego.
Still struggling to command his lively pitches and get ahead, Wheeler has however shown the ability to bear down in a jam. He held Philadelphia hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position, leaving opponents 4 for 32 (.125) in those situations during his brief big league career.
"I really concentrate. I really pride myself, if guys are in scoring position, that they're not going to score," Wheeler said.
Rollins drove Wheeler's third pitch to right for his 45th career leadoff homer, breaking a tie with Brady Anderson for fourth place in major league history.
It was Rollins' first home run in 162 at-bats since May 31. He has a 16-game hitting streak against the Mets.
New York came right back in the bottom of the first with the help of two walks by Hamels, who issued one free pass over 23 innings in his previous three starts combined. Byrd lined a run-scoring single, Lagares fisted an RBI single into shallow right, and Anthony Recker knocked in another by beating out a double-play ball after third baseman Michael Young double-clutched.
"You can't always go out with your best stuff, but you have to make the adjustments," said Hamels, who struggled to grip the ball properly with sweat pouring down his hand. "I wasn't able to make the adjustments as quickly as I would have liked in that first inning."
NOTES: Rollins' other leadoff homer this season came on May 10 in Arizona. ... Delmon Young had three hits for the second straight day. ... With the Mets facing a left-hander, Josh Satin started at 1B instead of Ike Davis . Satin made a two-out error in the ninth that nearly became costly. ... Harvey is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four career starts against Philadelphia. Lee is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in nine games against the Mets.