PHILADELPHIA — Aaron Harang would like to have one pitch back.
Juan Lagares homered off Harang and Jonathon Niese pitched seven strong innings to lead the New York Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on May 9.
Lagares, not known for his power, lined Harang’s 1-0 pitch into the seats in the left with one out in the seventh to put the Mets up 3-2. The two-run homer, Lagares’ first of the season and ninth of his career, broke an 0-for-16 skid.
“It was supposed to be down and away and I totally missed my spot,” Harang said. “You can tell by his swing he was looking fastball.”
Harang (3-3), who was pitching on his 37th birthday, gave up three runs — two earned — and eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
The right-hander, who signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in the offseason, had pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings with four hits and 14 strikeouts in his first two home starts with the Phillies.
“Harang was outstanding (except for) one high fastball he’d like to have back,” Philadelphia Manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Philadelphia went ahead with two runs in the sixth inning that started with rookie second baseman Dilson Herrera’s error on Ben Revere’s grounder. Revere scored on Jeff Francoeur’s sacrifice fly and Darin Ruf reached on Carlos Ruiz’s double just inside the bag at third.
It was the first error in the seventh career game for the 21-year-old Herrera, who is the youngest position player in the majors.
The Phillies loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning before Buddy Carlyle, the third Mets pitcher in the frame, escaped the jam by getting Ruiz to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
“The inning was set up nice,” Sandberg said. “I thought the shortstop made a good play.”
Sandberg said he thought about pinch-hitting Ryan Howard in Ruiz’s spot, but let Ruiz bat because he is a contact hitter and he’d been swinging well during the game.
Howard, who entered 4-for-26 off Niese, was kept out of the starting lineup. He flied out in the ninth as a pinch-hitter.
Niese (3-2) improved to 5-0 in his last seven starts against Philadelphia, surrendering two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Neither of the runs was earned.
Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless ninth to take the league lead by converting his 12th save in as many chances.
Lagares’ long ball resulted in the first two earned runs of the game.
The Mets went in front in the fifth when Ruben Tejada reached after second baseman Cesar Hernandez’s fielding error on Lucas Duda’s grounder should have been the third out.
Hernandez was filling in for the struggling Chase Utley, who was out of the starting lineup for the third time in four days after an 0-for-4 outing Friday dropped his average to .099.
New York threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with one out against Luis Garcia, but pinch-hitter Johnny Monell grounded into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play in his Mets debut.