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Beltran, Pelfrey flawed in loss to Phils

New York Mets' Jose Reyes, middle looks at

New York Mets' Jose Reyes, middle looks at third base umpire Chris Guccione as Philadelphia Phillies' Placido Polanco put on a late tag in the first inning of a baseball game. (April 6, 2011) Credit: AP

PHILADELPHIA -- The ball was sinking fast and Carlos Beltran was running. Not as fast. Not as fast as he used to.

Playing a position he is still not familiar with, Beltran's first move for Placido Polanco's liner to rightfield with two outs in the fifth inning last night was a tentative one.

Beltran dove and almost caught it. But he didn't. And the Mets were on their way to being sunk.

The ball bounced off Beltran's glove and the go-ahead run scored in the Phillies' 10-7 win over the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

The Mets, who tied the score with help from Beltran after falling behind 7-0 will have to live with his learning curve in right after a lifetime spent in center.

"That was a tough play," manager Terry Collins said. "I think Carlos will probably make it . I thought he made a great effort. From where I was sitting, it looked like he caught it."

Beltran, who had an RBI single and scored two runs, said his lack of time in rightfield wasn't a factor in the play. He also thought he had trapped the ball, but he kicked it away and couldn't find it for a while.

"As soon as he hit it, I thought I was going to make it," he said. "But I didn't get to it . . . That can happen anywhere -- centerfield, rightfield, leftfield. I don't feel that I did anything wrong. I feel that I reacted to the ball and I just couldn't get to it."

The Mets (3-2) had come back gamely from their Mike Pelfrey-induced deficit with two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. The rest of the game was a battle of the bullpens. The Phillies (4-2) won that battle to tie the series at a game apiece with Roy Halladay facing Jonathon Niese this afternoon.

Blaine Boyer (0-1), the Mets' third pitcher, allowed the run-scoring hit to Polanco and another to Ryan Howard (4-for-4, 2 2Bs, HR, walk) to give the Phillies a 9-7 lead. Boyer also gave up a solo home run to Ben Francisco in the sixth.

The Phillies' bullpen, meanwhile, pitched 42/3 innings of scoreless ball to bail out Joe Blanton, who frittered away most of the 7-0 lead.

Pelfrey allowed seven runs (six earned) in two-plus innings. The Mets' Opening Day starter's ERA after two outings is 15.63.

"I was awful," Pelfrey said. "Any time the team scores seven runs, I've got to win. Obviously, I was bad last week and I was even worse tonight. I let them down again."

Thrust into the role of No. 1 starter by Johan Santana's shoulder surgery, Pelfrey has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) and 12 hits in 61/3 innings. The unearned run was his fault, too.

Down 2-0 with one out in the second, Pelfrey let a sacrifice bunt attempt by Blanton fall to the grass instead of catching it because he heard David Wright yell, "Let it go! Drop! Drop!"

The idea was to start a double play. But Pelfrey, who said he didn't get a good grip on the ball, threw a one-hopper to first base that skipped past covering Brad Emaus and into rightfield, leading to the Phillies' third run.

"The thought process was good," Collins said. "The execution needs a little work."

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