NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard thought Chase Utley said he had it. And Utley was equally convinced Howard did.
"I was yelling his name," Utley said.
Somehow in the noise of Citi Field, "Ryan!" got turned into "I got it!" Howard backed away as Daniel Murphy's first-inning popup, which seemed to hang in the air almost as long as the seven seasons Utley and Howard have played together on the right side of the Phillies infield, was permitted to plop down on the grass.
Scott Hairston, who had doubled with two outs in the top of the first, kept running and scored without a throw, starting the Mets toward an 11-2 victory but not completing the list of ways the NL East leaders found to help New York along.
Cole Hamels walked the leadoff man in both the third and fourth innings, including pitcher Jon Niese in the third. Niese scored on a Hairston double that third baseman Wilson Valdez was unable to field, and Nick Evans came in on a sacrifice fly by Angel Pagan in the fourth.
A Ben Francisco throw in the seventh inning that should have been handled by catcher Carlos Ruiz was dropped, enabling Lucas Duda to slide home. That came just before Hairston removed all doubt about the outcome with a three-run homer. But it was 7-2 at that point -- and it had still been scoreless when Utley and Howard mutually, regrettably, deferred.
"Never happened before," Utley said. "Hope it never happens again."
That was Hamels' sentiment, as well.
"One of those things you have to get through it -- it's going to happen in baseball, its how you respond to it," Hamels said.
Indeed, after striking out Jason Bay to end the first, Hamels sailed through a perfect second and was trailing by just a run when he lost Niese on a 3-2 fastball.
|"I wasn't hitting my spots. If you are over the plate and down, you can get away with it. But I was up in the zone, not with my cutter and my changeup, but my fastball."|
|-- Cole Hamels|
It was the first of four walks by a pitcher who had walked just 24 batters in 132 innings this year. And that hurt Hamels against the Mets, against whom he is 3-10 despite a 71-50 overall career record.
"I wasn't hitting my spots," said Hamels, who did not last six innings for just the third time this season -- twice against, you guessed it, the Mets. "If you are over the plate and down, you can get away with it. But I was up in the zone, not with my cutter and my changeup, but my fastball.
"Anytime you walk a guy to lead off the inning, you are not putting yourself in a good situation. Especially the pitcher, because now you have turned over the lineup."
The Mets banged out seven of their 15 hits against Hamels, collecting the others against David Herndon and Danys Baez, turning it on against everyone but Drew Carpenter.
Hairston's two-run double, which scored Niese and Justin Turner, came up on third baseman Valdez quickly, but was borderline playable.
"He'll catch it sometimes, but that's assuming a lot," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Hairston hit that ball pretty hard."
This was opposed to the one hit by Murphy in the first, which established what kind of afternoon and evening it was going to be for the Phillies.
"I called it," Howard said. "I kind of saw him out of the corner of my eye, thought he was saying my name and thought he was calling me off."
After that, the whole day was a little off for the Phillies.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.