Pelfrey's strike opens Citi Field firsts
Fans see everything from leadoff homer to stray cat at debut
NEW YORK -- Mike Pelfrey delivered on his promise. He had said earlier this week that he was planning on delivering a first-pitch strike at Citi Field, and Pelfrey did just that, pumping the new park's first fastball into the strike zone at 7:11 p.m. ET.
What Pelfrey didn't predict is what happened moments later: Padres outfielder Jody Gerut, following the first ball at Citi Field, curled a 1-1 pitch around the right-field foul pole for the first homer, the first run scored and the first RBI at Citi Field. Gerut responded with the first home run trot.
That inauspicious beginning foretold a 6-5 loss to Padres. But the Mets still managed to dedicate Citi Field in quite a few different ways.
Aside from Gerut's home run, there was the first walk, which Pelfrey issued to Chase Headley in the first inning, and the first strikeout, which he recorded when he punched out Nick Hundley to lead off the second.
There was the first hit by the Mets, which David Wright laced down the right-field line with two outs in the first inning. And the team's first run came an inning later, when Luis Castillo shot an RBI single into right, scoring Brian Schneider.
Gerut threw out Jose Reyes when he attempted to stretch a single into a double in the third inning -- the first outfield assist. And moments later, play momentarily stalled when a cat scurried on and off of the field -- the first feline.
Gary Sheffield became the park's first pinch-hitter, grounding into a fielder's choice in the fifth inning. Though he didn't convert for the Mets, Sheffield replaced Pelfrey in the lineup, paving the way for Brian Stokes to become the first Mets reliever to pitch at Citi Field.
If not for Wright's tying three-run home run later in the inning -- which led to the first appearance of the Home Run Apple -- Stokes would have been the first reliever, period. As it was, Edward Mujica claimed that title, relieving Padres starter Walter Silva in the fifth.
Trouble came in the sixth inning when right fielder Ryan Church stumbled back to catch a fly ball, watching it glance off his glove for Citi Field's first error. In the bottom of the inning, reliever Pedro Feliciano committed the first balk, resulting in a run and a shower of boos -- though not the first boos. Pelfrey received those on his walk back to the dugout following a three-run second inning.
And so the Mets compiled their list of firsts, some good, some not so much. What really vexed them, though, was the most important first they were not able to acquire: their first victory.
That much will have to wait. And then the Mets can begin work on their list of seconds.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.