I'm guessing that if you had polled one hundred Phillies fans beforehand about their expectations for Wednesday's contest against the Mets, you would have gotten upwards of ninety variations on "they're gonna get smoked." New York was sending to the mound all-world lefty ace Johan Santana, off to perhaps the best start of his superlative career; the Phils countered with Chan Ho Park, presumably pitching for his job after a miserable first month of the season during which he put up an 8.57 ERA.
The Phils did ultimately lose the game, but the way we got there was far more surprising than a victory would have been. Park was magnificent for six innings, matching Santana zero for zero... but the usually sure-handed Phillies committed three errors, the last and most costly of which came in the seventh inning with two outs and Carlos Delgado at first base. Pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis stood in against Chad Durbin, and shattered his bat with a soft grounder that slowly made its way toward third base. Rather than putting it in his pocket, Pedro Feliz made an ill-advised throw to first... and airmailed it. As the ball headed into foul territory down the right-field line, Delgado--who recently returned from a hip injury and isn't much of a runner even in perfect condition--ran through a stop sign at third base. But Jayson Werth inexplicably hesitated before firing home, and Delgado beat Carlos Ruiz's tag. The unearned run was the first against the Phillies in 2009.
That was all the Mets needed, thanks mostly to Santana. He held the Phillies to two hits and three walks (two to Park) over seven innings, striking out ten, and lowered his ERA for the season to 0.90. Again, though, Park was right there with him, holding the Mets hitless for 4 2/3 innings and leaving after six frames with one hit and two walks against five strikeouts. Working mostly with a low-90s fastball and a biting slider, he faced the minimum number of batters through the first four innings in turning in the best start of any Phillies pitcher on the season.