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News » Feliz' error foils Park's strong outing in Phillies' loss to Mets


Feliz' error foils Park's strong outing in Phillies' loss to Mets


Feliz' error foils Park's strong outing in Phillies' loss to Mets
NEW YORK - Chan Ho Park did not even stop to consider the question. After the righthander allowed one hit in six scoreless innings last night in the Phillies' 1-0 loss to the Mets, a reporter wanted to know whether he had felt any pressure prior to the game. His first four starts in a Phillies uniform had eroded some of the team's confidence in him, and the rhetoric from manager Charlie Manuel suggested that Park was not only pitching for a victory last night, but also his job.

Did that weigh on his mind at all? Was there any pressure? Any thought that his future as a starter might be on the line against a team that shelled him for seven runs in his previous outing?

"No," Park said, and then he glanced around at the pack of media surrounding him, waiting for another query.

It wasn't "next question," but it was close.

The myopic story line from last night's defeat will revolve around the brilliant pitching performance by Mets lefthander Johan Santana, who struck out 10 and allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings, and the seventh-inning throwing error on third baseman Pedro Feliz that gave New York its only run and dropped the Phillies to 14-11.

But with regard to the long-term prospects of a starting rotation that entered last night with a major league-worst 6.54 ERA, Park's performance will go down as a victory. Even Manuel seemed to come to that understanding as he dissected the loss.

"We didn't play good defense," said Manuel, whose team committed three errors after entering with a major league-low five. "But at the same time, every now and then, your defense is going to play like that, too. That's just how it happened. I've seen us do the same thing against the Mets where we got the break and they didn't. As good as a game as it was, they got a big break and they capitalized on it and they held us for the last two innings and they came out a winner."

The fateful play occurred with two outs in the seventh inning and Carlos Delgado on first base, thanks to a walk by reliever Scott Eyre, who took the loss.

Pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis hit a slow grounder toward third base that Feliz charged and fielded. But Feliz was off balance when he released the throw to first, and the ball sailed wide of Ryan Howard and rolled to the fence in foul territory in shallow rightfield.

When rightfielder Jayson Werth fielded the ball, Delgado was still a considerable distance from home plate. But with the chaos in front of him - Howard was next to him in foul territory, Tatis was headed to third base, where no one was covering - Werth hesitated and, like a basketball player, double-clutched before throwing home, where Delgado slid in safely just ahead of catcher Carlos Ruiz' tag.

"I didn't pick up on the plate right away," Werth said. "I think Pedro and Jimmy [Rollins] and Delgado and the third-base coach were all a third of the way or half way down the line. I didn't pick up on the plate, and by the time I did, I got called for traveling."

Certainly, the way the Mets won was frustrating, particularly on a night when Park took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and displayed a rhythm and aggressiveness that had been lacking for most of his first four starts. But Park's performance seemed to temper the dismay.

After all, he entered the night fresh off an outing against the Mets in which he allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, prompting Manuel to suggest that he and pitching coach Rich Dubee might re-evaluate the team's rotation in the near future. Yet last night, he held the Mets hitless for 4 2/3 innings, finally allowing a double to Daniel Murphy with two outs in the fifth inning. The only other time in which he found himself in trouble, in the sixth inning, poor fielding was again to blame. First, Jose Reyes reached first base when Park failed to glove a throw from Howard, who had made a beautiful diving stop of a sharply hit grounder. Then, a stolen base by Reyes prompted a throw from Ruiz that ended up in centerfield, allowing the Mets' shortstop to reach third.

But Park worked out of that jam, getting the red-hot Carlos Beltran to pop out to leftfield to end the inning.

"Sometimes when you have a good outing, there are a lot of good memories there," Park said, "so it's going to help."

As impressive as Park was, Santana (4-1) was equally so, lowering his ERA to 0.91 on the season. The Phillies threatened twice against him, putting runners on first and second with one out in the third and getting a leadoff double from Raul Ibanez in the seventh, but each time Santana rallied.

"He was as good as I've seen him tonight," Werth said. *


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

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