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Jeremy Hefner gives Mets another short, ineffective start

Starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner of the Mets delivers

Starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner of the Mets delivers a pitch during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (April 10, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA -- A day after Dillon Gee lasted three innings against the Phillies, Jeremy Hefner Wednesday night lasted three innings against the Phillies.

It's hard to win like that. The Mets didn't on Tuesday night and they didn't Wednesday night as the Phillies scored five in the first and held on for a 7-3 win at Citizens Bank Park.

Hefner (0-2) allowed the first six Phillies to reach base and five of them scored. One was caught stealing.

Lucas Duda homered twice and John Buck (of course) went deep for the Mets (5-4), who have a day off Thursday to rest their weary bullpen. Mets relievers had to pitch 10 innings the last two nights.

Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey will start the first two games of the Mets' upcoming interleague series at Minnesota, although the Mets might be playing in the snow Friday night. There's a 50 percent chance of snow on the tail end of a storm that is expected to drop up to a foot on Minneapolis and its open-air stadium.

The Mets might need a few postponements to get the back of their rotation in order. Hefner, Gee and Aaron Laffey -- they currently have combined to allow 26 hits and 15 runs in their last 101/3 innings.

"They're both command guys," manager Terry Collins said of Hefner and Gee. "They live and die with the command of their pitches. Both guys were behind in the counts, and that's not them. When those kind of guys are behind, they're going to get hurt."

Hefner was outstanding in his first start, giving up just one run in six innings to Miami. Wednesday night, he was not outstanding, continuing a trend against the Phillies. In 101/3 innings vs. Philadelphia, Hefner has allowed 23 hits and 18 earned runs.

"I know I'm good enough to beat these guys," Hefner said. "I just didn't execute my pitches."

In the bottom of the first, Ben Revere walked, but he was thrown out stealing. Jimmy Rollins doubled and Chase Utley homered to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Ryan Howard singled and Michael Young walked before Domonic Brown unloaded a three-run home run into the second deck in rightfield. The Mets trailed 5-0 before Hefner recorded an out on his own.

The Mets made it 5-2 with a pair of solo home runs. Buck went deep in his third consecutive game with a blast to left in the second off Kyle Kendrick. Buck's fifth home run gave the Mets a team record of at least one homer in their first nine games.

Mets catchers totaled five home runs in 2012.

After Duda homered in the fourth, the Mets had a golden chance to make it 5-3 in the fifth. But a baserunning blunder by Daniel Murphy cost them a run. Murphy was on second with Jordany Valdespin (career-high three hits) on third with one out when Ruben Tejada hit a soft fly into left-center.

Revere ran it down and Valdespin would have scored easily on the would-be sacrifice fly. But Murphy thought the ball was going to drop and was caught off second base on a double play for the third out before Valdespin crossed the plate.

"Picked the wrong spot to try and force the envelope," Murphy said. "It was a mistake. It was a just a bad play."

The Phillies made it 7-2 in the sixth when Laynce Nix hit a pinch hit, two-run home run off LaTroy Hawkins. Duda homered again in the eighth.

The game was delayed 27 minutes in the bottom of the fourth by rain.

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