PHILADELPHIA -- Of all the things the Mets supposedly learned while beating the Astros, Diamondbacks and Nationals during their six-game winning streak, none was as important as the lesson delivered Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Those teams aren't the Phillies. Not even close.
School was in session Friday, and Ryan Howard drummed that message into the Mets' heads with a pair of impressive home runs that paved the way for the Phillies' 10-3 rout.
The first was a two-run shot off Mike Pelfrey, who threw a flat 89-mph fastball that Howard clubbed into the second deck in rightfield. The second was a sky-high grand slam off Dillon Gee that iced the game in the sixth.
Afterward, Terry Collins tried to take the bullets for Pelfrey and Gee. In Pelfrey's case, the manager insisted he should have skipped him Friday because of the stubborn stomach illness that weakened the righthander.
"It was my fault," Collins said. "I write the lineup. I didn't need to pitch him.''
While Pelfrey appreciated the gesture, neither he nor pitching coach Dan Warthen thought it was a mistake to let him take the mound. The blunder was the location of that four-seam fastball. Overall, Pelfrey allowed eight hits and four runs in 41/3 innings.
"I felt fine," Pelfrey said. "I'm not going to make any excuses. In this ballpark, when I throw a fastball down the middle, belt high, you're probably not going to get away with it."
Gee fared worse. In his first relief appearance, he stranded two in the fifth to limit the damage for Pelfrey. But in the sixth, Gee walked two and clipped Shane Victorino in the heel to load the bases for Howard, who ripped a 2-and-2 fastball into the rightfield bleachers.
Again, Collins said he thought he shouldn't have used Gee in that spot, even though he was the designated backup plan for Pelfrey.
"We're asking this guy to do something today that he wasn't comfortable with," Collins said.
After Friday's performance, and Gee's value as a starter, Collins made it sound as though keeping him in the bullpen is not a great idea. "I have to talk to Sandy [Alderson] and see what our options are going to be," Collins said. "This guy is a real good pitcher. What you saw in that one inning is not Dillon Gee."
Gee didn't have a problem being used in relief, just his pitch selection. In hindsight, a changeup might have been the better call after speeding up Howard's bat with fastballs earlier in the count. "We had been pounding him in," Gee said. "I probably should have went with a different pitch, but I can't do anything about that now."
Howard's moonshot was the 18th grand slam for a Mets opponent since 2009, which was the last year one of their players accomplished the feat.
After six straight wins, the Mets have dropped two in a row and now face Roy Halladay in Saturday's matinee and Cliff Lee on Sunday night. That doesn't seem too promising after the Mets could do nothing against rookie Vance Worley, who was called up Friday as a last-minute replacement for the injured Joe Blanton. Worley allowed two hits in six scoreless innings.
Said Pelfrey, "I got outpitched."