NEW YORK (AP) -- Maybe the New York Mets should have stayed on the road.
Welcomed home Friday night after a 9-1 road trip that pushed them 9½ games in front in the National League East, the Mets managed just four hits and were beaten 6-3 by the Baltimore Orioles, ending an eight-game winning streak.Erik Bedard, who had not won in a month, pitched six strong innings to earn the victory and Melvin Mora hit a two-run homer against his former team, capping a four-run seventh-inning rally.Bedard (6-6) used an effective changeup to keep the Mets off-balance. Typical was a fifth-inning strikeout of Lastings Milledge
that left the rookie slamming his bat to the ground and yelling at himself."I was throwing all my pitches, in and out," Bedard said.Manager Sam Perlozzo was delighted with the left-hander's effort."His change was the big pitch for him," the manager said. "He's showing signs of taking his game to the next level. Hopefully, he'll continue that way."Bedard pitched hitless ball into the fifth inning but was trailing 3-2 when he left the game for a pinch-hitter in the decisive seventh. The Mets took the lead in the fifth on a two-out, two-run double by Jose Reyes."I was kind of mad when he hit that double, but that's baseball," Bedard said.Cuban defector Alay Soler limited Baltimore to four hits over six innings and turned over the 3-2 lead to Aaron Heilman (0-2), who relieved at the start of the seventh.Heilman got in trouble immediately, walking Kevin Millar and
Nick Markakis to start the inning. Pinch-hitter Howie Clark bunted
the runners to second and third. First baseman Carlos Delgado then bobbled Brian Roberts' grounder but recovered in time to make the putout at first, Millar scoring to tie the game at 3-3.Then Brandon Fahey looped a single to left, just beyond the reach of Reyes, to score Markakis and put the Orioles in front. Mora followed with his ninth homer of the season for a 6-3 lead."I just feel good to win a game, no matter how we win," Mora said. "I was just trying to hit the ball up the middle. He hung it and I put a good swing on it."The four-run seventh continued Heilman's recent struggles."Heilman should pitch way over the top," pitching coach Rick Peterson said. "But he's reverting to a three-quarters delivery.""It's certainly been a work in progress," Heilman said. "I definitely feel better than I did a week ago. I threw a couple of pretty good pitches that just missed. I wasn't missing by a lot. Then a couple of bloops and a hanging changeup."Bedard (6-6) last won on May 17 against Boston and had lost his last four decisions. He allowed just three hits over six innings, walking three and striking out six.Chris Ray pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.The Mets scored a run without a hit in the second inning.Bedard walked Delgado and David Wright with none out. The runners advanced on a sacrifice by Jose Valentin and Delgado came home on Chris Woodward's infield out.Baltimore came right back against Soler in the third.Roberts reached on a throwing error by Reyes and scored when Fahey tripled to right center. Then Mora singled Fahey home and stole second before Soler struck out the next three batters to end the inning.The Mets regained the lead in the fifth.Valentin opened with New York's first hit against Bedard, ending a stretch nine straight Mets retired in order, and Woodward walked. After Milledge struck out, Soler advanced the runners with a sacrifice and Reyes delivered a double past first base to score two
The Mets failed to score in the first inning, ending an eight-game streak. The 1913 Chicago Cubs and 1938 Philadelphia Athletics are the only other teams to score in the first inning of eight straight games. ... ... Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth threw Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez out of the game for arguing a called third strike in the third inning. ... Wright made a diving glove-hand catch of Fahey's attempted bunt in the first inning. ... Wright extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a sixth-inning single.