NEW YORK – The Phillies suffered one of their ugliest losses of the season Sunday afternoon. Their short-handed bullpen blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning. The Mets won it, 5-4, on Ruben Tejada’s bases-loaded hit off Jeff Manship in the bottom of the 11th.
Not only did the loss cost the Phillies a three-game sweep and the chance to go to .500, but it denied Cole Hamels his 100th career win on a day when he threw 133 pitches, the most in the majors this season.
The Phillies and Mets are both 17-19.
Starting pitching report
Hamels turned in a gutsy effort. He went seven innings and threw a career-high 133 pitches. His previous high was 128 in July 2012. He allowed seven hits and just a run in the first inning. He walked three and struck out 10.
Hamels was under the gun after giving up a one-out double in the seventh. He came back to strike out dangerous David Wright on a full-count fastball, then got Chris Young to fly out to center to end the inning and preserve a two-run lead.
Hamels entered the seventh with 111 pitches. Manager Ryne Sandberg clearly did not have relievers Jake Diekman, Mike Adams or Jonathan Papelbon available, probably because of their workloads earlier in the series, so he stayed with Hamels in the seventh while holding Mario Hollands for the eighth. The scenario illustrated how badly the Phillies could use another dependable right-handed arm in their bullpen.
Mets’ lefty Jonathon Niese allowed three runs over six innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Hollands pitched a scoreless eighth, but Antonio Bastardo blew the save in the ninth.
Sandberg had right-handers Manship and Luis Garcia available, but did not use Manship until the 10th. Instead, Sandberg used Roberto Hernandez, who threw 99 pitches Friday, after Bastardo couldn’t do the job in the ninth. Clearly, Sandberg has little trust in any right-hander other than Adams and Papelbon.
At the plate
The Phillies scored once in the second inning on back-to-back doubles by Wil Nieves and Cody Asche. They added a pair of runs in the fourth. Ryan Howard led off with a single and Marlon Byrd doubled. Howard used an acrobatic slide to score on a ground out to first, and Byrd scored on a ground out by Nieves.
Chase Utley tripled home a run in the ninth to give the Phils a 4-1 lead.
The Mets rallied for three runs in the ninth to tie the game. Two of the runs came on a homer by Daniel Murphy against Bastardo.
The Phillies are off on Monday. They open a two-game interleague series against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Cliff Lee (3-3, 3.64) will pitch on Tuesday night. The Angels have not yet named a starter for that game. A.J. Burnett (2-2, 2.90) will oppose right-hander Garrett Richards (3-0, 2.80) on Wednesday afternoon.
The Phils are off again on Thursday before hosting Cincinnati in a three-game weekend series.