PHILADELPHIA - Wilmer Flores described the ball taking a funny hop on the way to his glove Sunday. It was the first event in a chain reaction that forced an off-line throw to first.
"I took a little bit longer," Flores said. "It was a fast runner and I had to rush it."
There were plenty of reasons for the Mets' 11th walk-off defeat of the year, a bitter 7-6 loss to the Phillies, but Flores' misplay on Ben Revere's routine two-out grounder -- it was ruled an infield single -- did not help. It opened the door for a two-run inning that brought the Phillies, who had trailed 6-1, within 6-5.
It's part of the trade-off that the Mets have been willing to make, all for the sake of learning whether Flores can play defense well enough to keep his bat in the lineup.
"The whole plan is we've got to see if he can play major-league shortstop," Terry Collins said. "He's got to be out there, we've got to find out if he's going to be able to do it, if he's going to be able to hit. And with that comes maybe a play like that."
Collins defended his decision to have Jenrry Mejia intentionally walk Chase Utley on a 3-and-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth. With men on first and second, Ryan Howard singled to right to win it. "You've got to make a great pitch to a guy who's leading the team in hitting, so I'm not going to let him beat me," Collins said of Utley. "Howard's been struggling, so you've got to make him beat you."
Utley hit a solo homer in the first and a two-out, two-run triple in the seventh, making Collins pay for another tactical decision. Though lefthanded Josh Edgin was ready in the bullpen, Collins stuck with righty Vic Black, who allowed the triple. Edgin then replaced Black and struck out Howard.
The Mets were without setup man Jeurys Familia, who was given a day off as a concession to his recent workload.