Young's arm, bat help Mets rip Phillies

Starting pitcher Chris Young #55 of the New Starting pitcher Chris Young #55 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (April 5, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA -- This is pretty much what everyone expected this offseason when Sandy Alderson reached back to his San Diego days and signed Chris Young, right?

Stroll into Citizens Bank Park, have Young shut down the Phillies for nearly six innings Tuesday night in frigid temperatures. Oh, and bang out three hits, all the while leading a methodical Mets' attack that humbled Cole Hamels en route to a 7-1 victory over the Phillies.

Making it a little sweeter was that the Mets handed their bitter division rival its first loss of the season. A bonus: Ryan Howard, minus the injured Chase Utley in front of him, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Terry Collins even stuck with Young to face Howard with the bases loaded in the fifth, and he got the cleanup hitter to ground out to end the inning.

"It was a good night for us," Alderson said, grinning, "and a good night for him."

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With Young coming off shoulder problems that wiped out most of last season, the Mets loaded his $1.1-million contract with incentives and crossed their fingers. None of those clauses includes a bonus for a batting title.

When the Mets sent 11 men to the plate in the third, Young became the first pitcher in franchise history to get two hits in an inning. He rattled Hamels with a leadoff single, and with two outs punched a single to left that made it 6-0. It also knocked Hamels out of the game.

"I'm just taking it all in right now," Young said. "The night was kind of a blur to me."

Young's three hits matched a feat last done for the Mets by Tom Glavine in 2005.

"I didn't realize he was such a good-hitting pitcher," David Wright said, then jokingly added, "It just makes [Mike] Pelfrey look that much worse."

Young showed he can pitch, too, shaking off the rust of the past two seasons, when he totaled 18 starts. His splitter and effective curve made his high-80s fastball pop a little quicker.

He struck out four of the first six batters, and didn't surrender a run until Placido Polanco's two-out double in the fifth. Young allowed five hits, walked four and struck out seven in 51/3 innings.

Hamels was 0-4 against the Mets last year despite a 3.20 ERA, and this loss dropped him to 2-9. The Mets used patience at the plate, aggressive baserunning and timely hits (all seven were singles) as they wore him down early.

Said Wright: "Ideally, you'd like to get their starters out of there as fast as you can."

In the third, after Young's single, Jose Reyes bunted for a hit and Angel Pagan walked. Wright (4-for-5) hit a two-run single to left and Pagan dashed from first to third, which set him up to score on a passed ball.

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"That's right, baby," Pagan said. "We've got to take advantage of our speed and put pressure on. We want them to worry more about us than the hitters."

The Mets did a good job harassing Hamels, and with Young's double duty at bat and on the mound, it was another step on the road back to respectability.

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