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Mets pound struggling Halladay

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets still are not completely sure what they have in right-hander Matt Harvey.

The Philadelphia Phillies are wondering the same thing about Roy Halladay.

Harvey, a hard-throwing 24-year-old, pitched seven strong innings, John Buck hit a three-run homer off Halladay, and the Mets beat the Phillies 7-2 Monday night.

Harvey (2-0) allowed just three hits while striking out nine and walking two. The Mets (5-2) won their third straight.

Halladay (0-2) had won eight straight against the Mets, and he was seeking his 200th career victory. Instead, the two-time Cy Young Award winner followed up his rocky outing last week in Atlanta by allowing six hits and seven runs in four-plus innings.

It's the first time since 2007 he's allowed five earned runs or more in consecutive starts. His season ERA is 14.73.

"He actually had pop on the ball," manager Charlie Manuel said, "but it gets back to his location, command."

Halladay, who threw 99 pitches (59 for strikes), agreed that his problem is "definitely command."

"When you're trying to force the ball to a spot," he said, "the more you force it, the more it goes away from there.

"It's tough. You care about the game. You care about your teammates. You care about the fans. You care about the organization. You want it badly. ... Everybody wants it. You want it as much as they do. That makes it tough."

Halladay retired the first four hitters he faced, but he allowed a one-out double in the second to former Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd. Halladay then hit Lucas Duda with a pitch before Buck blasted a 2-0 fastball into the right field seats for his third homer of the season. Buck now has 12 RBIs.

Duda's RBI single with two outs in the third gave the Mets a 4-0 cushion. After the Phils' Ryan Howard drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, the Mets scored three times in the fifth, knocking Halladay out of the game in the process.

Daniel Murphy led off with a double, and after Halladay wild-pitched him to third, David Wright singled through a drawn-in infield to bring Murphy home. Ike Davis followed with another single, ending Halladay's night. With two outs, Ruben Tejada's two-run single off reliever Chad Durbin made it 7-1.

Mets manager Terry Collins said his club was fortunate to get Halladay at this point in the season.

"That's not Doc," he said. "If you're going to get him, you better get him when things aren't right."

Harvey walked the first hitter he faced in the bottom of the first, Ben Revere, and Revere advanced to third on a steal and an infield out. Harvey then retired Chase Utley on a popup before striking out Howard on a 98 mph fastball.

"At that point," Harvey said, "I really had to buckle down and stay focused -- eliminate who's in the box and make pitches."

The Phillies had only one other runner in scoring position against Harvey -- Jimmy Rollins, who came home on Howard's sacrifice fly in the fourth.

"He's not afraid. No question about that -- Matt Harvey's not afraid," Collins said. "I'm getting to know the guy as good as anybody. Nothing surprises me. Nothing."

NOTES: The Phils fell to 2-5 with their second straight loss. ... Murphy and Wright had two hits apiece for the Mets, who had nine in all. ... Manuel was asked before the game about the insistence on the part of Howard, a lefty swinger, to hit the ball into the defensive shift opponents employ against him, as opposed to going to left field on occasion. "This is where he makes his money," Manuel said, indicating right field. "He's got to be hitting the ball over in this area. That's the correct way to use all his assets." ... The Phillies scored four runs in the first and ninth innings of Sunday's 9-8 loss to Kansas City. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time they lost a game when doing that since a 16-8 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles on July 25, 1979, and the first time they had done that in a home game since losing 12-10 to the Cubs in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 3, 1958. ... Wright has hit 16 home runs in Citizens Bank Park, the most by a visiting player.
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