Manuel's managerial debut spoiled
Johan rusty against Angels as Mets produce just one run
ANAHEIM -- A new era for the Mets began on Tuesday with Jerry Manuel, but in his first game as interim manager, it came with familiar results.The Mets played sloppy defense, committing three errors that led to three runs, and ace Johan Santana (7-5) came out on the wrong end of what was billed as a pitching duel against the Angels' John Lackey in the Mets' 6-1 loss in front of 40,122 at Angel Stadium.
"We played together for eight years, so it was nice to see him, but at the same time, we're on different sides and I wanted to get him out," Santana said.Santana got into trouble early as he allowed three runs in the first inning that was keyed by back-to-back doubles by Vladimir Guerrero and Hunter. Hunter drove in two runs with his double down the left-field line on the first pitch he saw from Santana -- an 80-mph changeup. "He left a changeup up, and I said, 'Thank you,'" said Hunter, who later scored on a fielding error by first baseman Carlos Delgado. "When I hit the double and was at second, I think he said, 'I hate you.' It was all in fun. I miss him. I love him." Santana ran into trouble again in the third inning, when he allowed a single to Guerrero and a walk to Hunter before surrendering an RBI single to Casey Kotchman. Santana settled down after the third before he allowed a solo home run to Jeff Mathis in the sixth inning. Meanwhile, the Mets' offense never got anything going against Lackey. They scored their only run in the first inning on a double-play ground ball hit by David Wright with Damion Easley on third. Easley replaced Jose Reyes, who left the game with stiffness in his left hamstring after opening the game with a single up the middle. After the first inning, the Mets only had three runners advance to second base against Lackey, but they had nothing to show for it. The Mets went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Lackey (4-1) tossed 7 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits while striking seven and walking one. He picked up his fourth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 1.73. "He's obviously a good pitcher," Schneider said. "His ERA is down around 1.70." Even with the loss, Manuel said he's just looking forward to the Mets putting the craziness of the past 24 hours behind them. "Hopefully, now that the cloud is lifted, we can get back to playing baseball," Manuel said. "We've got a good team. We've got some good players, and it's just a matter of us all getting on the same page."
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.