Mets 11, Rangers 0
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—If the New York Mets had played this way more often, general manager Steve Phillips probably wouldn’t be out of the job.
And they certainly wouldn’t be mired in last place in the NL East with one of baseball’s highest payrolls.
Hours after Phillips was fired Thursday, Al Leiter combined with two relievers for New York’s third shutout of the season, and the Mets had season highs for runs and hits in an 11-0 win over the Texas Rangers.
“It’s ironic that on a day somebody who has been pulling for us to get our offense on track gets fired, our offense gets going,” said Vance Wilson, who homered and had a career-high five RBIs. “It was more coincidence than all of us trying to prove something.”
Rookie Ty Wigginton went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, and New York had 16 hits. The only Mets starter without a hit was rookie shortstop Jose Reyes, who was 0-for-5 in his third game with the Mets and was charged with his first error.
Leiter (7-3), with an 8-0 lead by time he went out for the third inning, pitched six innings before Graeme Lloyd and John Franco finished the shutout. The Rangers had 11 hits, but stranded 14 runners while being shut out for the third time.
Leiter struck out six and scattered eight hits over six innings, four days after allowing eight runs and nine hits in two innings against Seattle. Lloyd took over to start the seventh, and Franco pitched the ninth.
“Being up by eight runs, that allowed me to relax,” Leiter said. “With a lead like that, you can let them hit it, instead of pressing.”
After beating another last-place team for the second ninth in a row, the Mets are still just 29-35 overall. They are 15 games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
Wilson’s sixth homer, a two-run shot in the second, put the Mets ahead 3-0. He added a two-run single an inning later when New York scored five times and chased Colby Lewis (4-5), and then was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in a three-run ninth.
Wigginton’s double in the second drove in the first New York run. He added an RBI single an inning later, as the last batter to face Lewis, before Roger Cedeno and Timo Perez had consecutive run-scoring singles.
Lewis gave up six runs on seven hits. Since starting the season 3-0, Lewis is 1-5 with a 11.08 ERA in his last 10 starts.
The right-hander could be in danger of returning to the minors since the Rangers will have to make a roster move Friday. Tony Mounce, who is at Triple-A Oklahoma, is scheduled to make his major league debut Friday against Florida.
“Colby struggled again. He’s not consistent enough,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He had command of one pitch and that was the fastball. Tonight, he wasn’t as good as he needs to be and is capable of being.”
Less than three years after going to the World Series, the Mets are mired in last place despite the second-highest payroll in the majors. Their opening day payroll was $116.9 million, less only than the Yankees ($149.7 million).
The team had hoped to turn their fortunes around this season with new manager Art Howe replacing Bobby Valentine and several high-profile signings, including pitcher Tom Glavine and outfielder Cliff Floyd.
New York has been plagued by injuries, with catcher Mike Piazza, first baseman Mo Vaughn and right-hander Pedro Astacio on the disabled list. Glavine missed his first start in 11 years Thursday with an injured elbow. And right-handed reliever Mike Stanton will have surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his left knee.
“It’s unfortunate that somebody has to be blamed for poor play,” Leiter said. “Last year it was Bobby, now it’s Steve. We all have to be heldaccountable.”
Wigginton leads NL rookies with 40 runs scored and 32 RBIs. … Rangers RF Juan Gonzalez was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game because of tenderness in his right elbow. … Alomar, hit in the elbow by a pitch Wednesday, returned to the lineup Thursday, but left after six innings with the score already 8-0. … It was only the second time in 269 games the Rangers have been shut out at home. … Neither team took batting practice onthe field because of a thunderstorm. The game still started on time.