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Saturday, July 20, 2013
Hefner hits skids early against Phillies

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- All the momentum Jeremy Hefner had built up leading into the All-Star break vanished within a span of six outs.

His league-leading ERA dating back to June 4, the undefeated streak dating back to mid-June, none of it mattered as his greatest enemy, the Philadelphia Phillies, battered him for eight runs and 10 hits over 63 pitches.

"I needed to be a lot better than I was tonight, especially coming out of the break," Hefner said. "Trying to set a good tone and I didn't do that."

Hefner pitched one of the worst games of his career as he gave up a career-high eight runs while lasting just two innings as the New York Mets fell to the Phillies, 13-8, on Friday night at Citi Field. Hefner surrendered six hits and four runs through the first seven batters in what was easily his poorest outing of the season.

"Certainly I know he's pitched a lot better than he has tonight," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "This was something we were surprised as anybody at what happened. He's been throwing so well."

Hefner entered the game with an MLB-leading 1.76 ERA dating back to June 4, including four straight starts with at least six innings pitched while allowing two runs or fewer. That hot stretch came to an end against a team that has owned him over his short career.

Jeremy Hefner
Jeremy Hefner logged his worst outing the season Friday, increasing his career ERA against the Phillies to a whopping 13.75.
Hefner now has a career 13.75 ERA against Philadelphia, the highest of any pitcher with at least 18 innings pitched against the Phillies. The worst start of his career also came against these same Phillies as he failed to record an out while giving up seven earned runs on Sept. 20, 2012 at Citi Field.

"I don't know what it is about those guys," Hefner said after falling to 4-7 on the year. "They're a good team absolutely. They're a veteran team. I know how to get them out, I just didn't execute."

After striking out Michael Young for the first out in the first, Hefner surrendered four straight hits, capped by an RBI single by John Mayberry Jr. that made it 4-0. The Phillies ultimately batted around that inning, forcing Hefner to labor through the 95-degree heat as he hurled 38 pitches in the frame.

In the third, Hefner allowed the first four batters to reach base, including a towering solo homer by Domonic Brown. Collins had seen enough, and pulled his starter after watching him allow a career high-tying 10 hits. Hefner had given up a combined eight earned runs in his past six starts prior to Friday's clunker.

The Phillies ended up scoring seven runs in the third as Young blasted a three-run shot off reliever Greg Burke to give the Phillies an 11-0 edge.

"I had a good second inning and I thought I was going to build off that and it didn't happen," Hefner said.

When Hefner threw his first pitch Friday night, he did so in smothering 95-degree heat. However, he didn't blame the scorching temperature for his miserable start.

"I wasn't out there long enough for it to affect me really," Hefner said.