Originally posted on Philly Sports Live  |  Last updated 4/13/12

Before Friday’s series opener with the visiting New York Mets, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel talked about the importance of being patient against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Easier said than done when confronted with the floater. The Phillies took their hacks but were thrown off rhythm by the righthander, whose previous history at Citizens Bank Park left much to be desired.

Dickey surrendered one run over seven innings as the Mets opened the weekend series with a 5-2 win over the Phillies. Thus, the Phillies saw their modest two-game win streak snapped while the somewhat surprising Mets halted their two-game losing streak. While Dickey had a short sample at Citizens Bank Park, it wasn’t a good one. He was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in previous appearances.

On this night, he was a different pitcher before leaving for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Dickey allowed nine hits while striking out seven and walking one.

He throws his knuckleball harder than most pitchers, but the unpredictability was just as baffling to the Phillies. The losing pitcher was Cliff Lee, who was making his first Citizens Bank Park start since Game 2 of last season’s NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, when he was staked to a 4-0 lead in an eventual 5-4 loss.

Against the Mets, Lee pitched seven innings and allowed four runs on just five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven but surrendered two home runs. The Mets were playing their third straight game without third baseman David Wright, out with a fractured right pinkie finger and, unlike the other two games, they didn’t miss him this time.

Lee got into an immediate hole by yielding three first-inning runs on consecutive doubles by Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy and a two-out, two-run home run to right center field by Jason Bay. That two-run shot doubled Bay’s RBI total from his first six games, and he entered the contest batting .158.

In the second inning, Phillies leftfielder John Mayberry Jr. provided plenty of fireworks with nothing to show. After hitting a long foul ball to left field, Mayberry then drilled a hit to left but was thrown out by Bay attempting to stretch it into a double.

The Phillies got on the board in the third on Freddy Galvis’ first career home run, a blast to right field on an 83-m.p.h. four-seam fastball by Dickey. Mets centerfielder Scott Hairston made it 4-1 with a towering solo home run to left in the fifth inning.

In the sixth, the Phillies sent the tying run to the plate after Jimmy Rollins led off with a single and advanced to third on a one-out single by Jim Thome, which was his first hit of season. Mayberry then struck out, and Carlos Ruiz ended the inning with a dying liner to Murphy at second base. The Mets ended their scoring with Lucas Duda’s ninth-inning sacrifice fly.

The Phillies scored when Murphy let Juan Pierre’s two-out grounder go through his legs at second base, allowing Ruiz, who had doubled, to score the game’s final run.

 

 

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