PHILADELPHIA -- No David Wright. Cliff Lee starting for the Phillies. As early-season challenges go, this ranked right up there for the Mets, whose bus ride down the New Jersey Turnpike luckily included no further injuries.
Even with the disabled list possibly looming for Wright, the Mets looked unfazed by his absence. They scored three first-inning runs, including a two-run homer by Jason Bay, and Scott Hairston also went deep against Lee to lead the Mets to a 5-2 victory Friday night before a quiet crowd of 45,429 at Citizens Bank Park.
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"You cannot let good pitchers dominate you," Terry Collins said. "If you get something to hit, you better hit it. Fortunately, we got a couple of mistakes and put good swings on them."
It was an unusual night. R.A. Dickey emerged victorious over Lee, who had been 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 17 strikeouts in three previous starts against the Mets. Bay drilled his first home run since Sept. 8 -- including spring training. And in a brain cramp straight out of Little League, Josh Thole inexplicably wandered off second base to be tagged out on Dickey's sacrifice-bunt attempt.
"The video is incredible," Thole said. "I don't know what I was thinking."
Dickey, who displayed mock outrage that he was denied a sacrifice bunt on the play, said, "I'm glad we can laugh about it now."
Of all of Friday's unexpected developments, Bay's two-run homer off Lee had to top the list. The leftfielder entered Friday batting .158 (3-for-19) with eight strikeouts. But with two outs in the first inning, Bay crushed a 2-and-0 fastball for a two-run homer that reached the seats in right-centerfield, more than 400 feet away.
"Literally, it was the only pitch I got to hit from him all night," Bay said, "and the way things have been going, I normally would have missed that or taken it. But it was like, all right, put a good swing on it, exhale a little bit and build off that."
Said Collins: "He needed it as much as anybody. It was a huge hit for him and for us."
Dickey allowed nine hits in seven innings, with the Phillies' only run off him coming on Freddy Galvis' first career homer, a leadoff shot in the third. Dickey (2-0) struck out seven and walked one as his ERA dropped to 2.08 in two starts. He has made 14 consecutive quality starts dating to July 25, the longest active streak in the majors and a career best for Dickey.
"I've had a lot of baserunners," Dickey said. "But ultimately, the games usually come down to four or five pitches. Cliff Lee, in my opinion, outpitched me in a lot of ways. But we were able to make the big pitch tonight. Because of that, we were able to minimize the damage and keep some of the guys from crossing the plate."
The Mets not only had to deal with Lee but were forced to do so without their best offensive player as Wright missed his third game with a fractured right pinkie finger. Rather than shuffle the lineup, however, Collins simply inserted Justin Turner -- his righthanded-hitting utilityman -- in the No. 3 hole vacated by Wright.
Though that spot usually is reserved for a team's best hitter, and Turner obviously is not among the top names in that category, Collins explained the move by saying he wanted to preserve the synergy of the lineup's remaining pieces.
Despite Turner, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, the payoff was immediate. Ruben Tejada smacked the game's third pitch for a double to leftfield. Daniel Murphy pulled a 2-and-0 pitch to right for another double, driving in Tejada. Two outs later, Bay came up big to help the Mets snap a two-game losing streak.
"I think it's a great win," Dickey said. "A real pick-me-up."