|San Diego (6-2) «||1||3||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||6||9||0|
|N.Y. Mets (3-4)||0||1||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||5||7||1|
NEW YORK -- The place looked gorgeous. The Mets looked lost.
Jody Gerut christened Citi Field with a leadoff home run -- the only time that has happened in major league history -- and the San Diego Padres spoiled New York's first game in its glittering new ballpark with a 6-5 victory Monday night.
Pedro Feliciano balked in the go-ahead run and the Mets made several costly mistakes, opening Citi Field the same way they closed Shea Stadium: with a dud.
"It's bittersweet," David Wright said. "Winning will do a lot more than the park."
Gerut's shot off Mike Pelfrey marked the first time that the first batter homered in the opening game at a big league ballpark, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"Very cool," Gerut said. "Maybe at the end of the season when I look back on this, I'll have a greater sense of what happened here. But at the time, all I'm thinking is that it put us ahead."
Wright rallied New York from an early four-run hole with a three-run homer that tied it, but it wasn't enough. Duaner Sanchez and Heath Bell, both former Mets relievers, closed out the fifth straight win for surprising San Diego, expected to be one of baseball's worst teams this year.
Adrian Gonzalez also homered for the Padres, who improved to 6-2.
The Mets are looking for more success at $800 million Citi Field than they had at big Shea, where they spent 45 seasons that produced two World Series championships -- and September collapses each of the past two years.
The Mets lost to Florida in the Shea finale last season, eliminating them from playoff contention. They haven't been any better in their stadium openers -- New York dropped its first game at the old Polo Grounds (1962) and at Shea Stadium (1964), both by 4-3 scores to Pittsburgh.
Wide-eyed fans filed in Monday through the stately Jackie Robinson Rotunda, many snapping photos and searching for souvenirs only steps from where Shea Stadium was razed to make room for Citi Field's parking lot.
Pregame ceremonies included Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and former New York catcher Mike Piazza walking in together from the bullpen, both wearing Mets jerseys. Seaver threw out the first pitch to Piazza, a strike, and pumped his fist.
Both players autographed the ball, which is headed to the Hall of Fame.
With its intricate brickwork and charming archways, Citi Field was designed to invoke the warmth of Ebbets Field, beloved home of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913-57.
Even the team mascot, Mr. Met, has his own room under the stands.
"It's impressive. It's a nice place. It's such a stark, dramatic change from Shea Stadium," said Padres Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, now an executive vice president and senior adviser for San Diego.
The Mets tested out the cozy ballpark with two exhibition games April 3-4 against Boston. But this was the real thing, and it certainly didn't go as planned.
Gerut pulled Pelfrey's third pitch down the right-field line, stunning a sold-out crowd of 41,007. The first hit at Shea Stadium also was a home run, by Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell off "Fat Jack" Fisher on April 17, 1964.
"That's probably the only place in the yard where I can get it out. This park plays pretty big," Gerut said.
Indeed, Wright and Carlos Beltran hammered long drives to center that Gerut caught near the fence, balls that probably would have left most big league parks -- including Shea.
Pelfrey looked out of sorts all night in his team's new digs. He caught a cleat on the mound in mid-delivery, sending the 6-feet-7 right-hander tumbling awkwardly to the turf in the second inning with Padres starter Walter Silva at the plate.
Pelfrey wasn't hurt, so he tried to wave off manager Jerry Manuel and a team trainer. They came out to check on him anyway.
"I asked them if the game was on TV. It was pretty embarrassing," Pelfrey said.
Gonzalez gave San Diego a 5-1 cushion with a fifth-inning home run against Pelfrey that caromed off the screen attached to the right-field foul pole.
"We just haven't seen the life in those pitches," Manuel said. "We'll have to really sit down and see if there's anything wrong with him."
The Mets finally revved up their fans in the bottom of the fifth. Daniel Murphy hit an RBI single and Wright reached down to yank a full-count pitch over the retired numbers above the 364-foot sign on the left-field fence.
The homer tied it at 5 and chased Silva, a 32-year-old rookie. It also raised -- for the first time during a game -- the shiny red apple nestled behind the center-field wall. The old apple was a staple at Shea, weather-beaten but always a favorite touch for fans.
The Mets, however, gave away the decisive run in the sixth.
With Brian Stokes (0-1) pitching, Luis Rodriguez opened the inning with a long fly to right that glanced off Ryan Church's glove for a three-base error. Two outs later, Feliciano balked home a run that put the Padres up 6-5.
Murphy dropped a deep fly to left on Sunday in Florida, leading to two runs in a 2-1 loss.
"Right now it just seems like we're a little off. We're not playing a complete game," Wright said.
Edward Mujica (1-1) retired his only batter for his first major league victory. Sanchez worked a perfect eighth and Bell pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.
Mets Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver throws out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field. (US Presswire)
|Players of the Game|
|San Diego Padres|
|Jody Gerut, CF||4||2||2||1||1||0||2||.278|
|David Eckstein, 2B||4||1||3||2||1||0||0||.286|
|Brian Giles, RF||5||0||1||1||0||0||5||.161|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||2||.276|
|Chase Headley, LF||3||0||0||0||2||1||0||.194|
|Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B||5||0||1||0||0||0||2||.214|
|Nick Hundley, C||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.313|
|Luis Rodriguez, SS||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.231|
|Walter Silva, P||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Edward Mujica, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Edgar Gonzalez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.125|
|Edwin Moreno, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Everth Cabrera, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Duaner Sanchez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Heath Bell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Mujica in the 6th|
|b-popped out-bunting for Moreno in the 8th|
|2B - Jody Gerut (3, Pelfrey), David Eckstein 2 (4, Pelfrey, Feliciano)|
|HR - Jody Gerut (1, Pelfrey), Adrian Gonzalez (2, Pelfrey)|
|RBI - Jody Gerut (2), David Eckstein 2 (4), Brian Giles (4), Adrian Gonzalez (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - David Eckstein 2 (3), Brian Giles (2)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Jody Gerut 1|
|San Diego Padres|
|Edward Mujica (W,1-1)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||7.36|
|Edwin Moreno (H,2)||2||2||0||0||1||2||0||0.00|
|Duaner Sanchez (H,3)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Heath Bell (S,4)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Walter Silva 91-53, Edward Mujica 1-1, Edwin Moreno 34-22, Duaner Sanchez 11-7, Heath Bell 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Walter Silva 5-6, Duaner Sanchez 2-1, Heath Bell 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Walter Silva 21, Edward Mujica 1, Edwin Moreno 9, Duaner Sanchez 3, Heath Bell 3|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||4||1||1||0||1||0||3||.241|
|Daniel Murphy, LF||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.290|
|David Wright, 3B||4||1||2||3||0||1||0||.333|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.333|
|Carlos Beltran, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.345|
|Ryan Church, RF||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.423|
|Brian Schneider, C||3||1||0||0||1||0||2||.167|
|Luis Castillo, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||0||1||.368|
|Mike Pelfrey, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|a- Gary Sheffield, PH||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Brian Stokes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Pedro Feliciano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jeremy Reed, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Sean Green, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|J.J. Putz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Francisco Rodriguez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Fernando Tatis, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Pelfrey in the 5th|
|b-singled for Feliciano in the 6th|
|c-flied out for Rodriguez in the 9th|
|2B - David Wright (2, Silva), Luis Castillo (2, Silva)|
|HR - David Wright (1, Silva)|
|RBI - Daniel Murphy (3), David Wright 3 (4), Luis Castillo (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Daniel Murphy (1), David Wright 3 (4), Luis Castillo (1)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Ryan Church (1, Dropped fly)|
|New York Mets|
|Brian Stokes (L,0-1)||0.1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|WP - J.J. Putz (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 88-56, Brian Stokes 9-5, Pedro Feliciano 11-7, Sean Green 18-10, J.J. Putz 21-12, Francisco Rodriguez 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 5-7, Brian Stokes 1-1, Pedro Feliciano 2-0, Sean Green 2-0, J.J. Putz 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 25, Brian Stokes 2, Pedro Feliciano 3, Sean Green 4, J.J. Putz 5, Francisco Rodriguez 3|
|Attendance - 41007|
|Game Time - 3:11|
|Temperature - 54|
|Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Bill Hohn|