Mets begin Manuel era with loss

June 17, 2008 9:59:05 PM PDT
John Lackey scattered six hits over seven-plus innings Tuesday night to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 victory that spoiled Jerry Manuel's debut as New York Mets manager.Manuel was promoted from bench coach after Willie Randolph was fired a night earlier.

In a matchup of staff aces, Lackey (4-1) outpitched Johan Santana (7-5). The Angels' right-hander, whose 2008 debut was delayed by a strained biceps, shut out the Mets after giving up a run in the first inning. He struck out seven in 7 2-3 innings and walked one - the last batter he faced.

Scott Shields pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings to earn his second save.

Santana gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.

After New York scratched out a run in the first inning, the Angels responded with three in their half.

Torii Hunter doubled home a pair of runs with two outs, then scored from second on a fielding error by first baseman Carlos Delgado.

Casey Kotchman singled home another run for Los Angeles in the third, also with two outs. Jeff Mathis' solo home run in the sixth made it 5-1, and Los Angeles tacked on another run in the eighth.

Randolph was fired after New York had won its second in a row, 9-6, in the series opener in Anaheim. Mets general manager Omar Minaya caught a flight to the West Coast during the day, told Randolph at the team hotel late Monday night that he was dismissed, and asked Manuel to take the job.

Manuel, the 2000 AL manager of the year with the White Sox, is in his fourth season with the Mets after managing Chicago from 1998 until he was let go after the 2003 season.

Minaya also made coaching changes, cutting loose first base coach Tom Nieto and pitching coach Rick Peterson. Ken Oberkfell, the manager of their Triple-A New Orleans club, and the pitching coach there, Dan Warthen, replaced them.

The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Mets, who went on to lose for the eighth time in 12 games. New York shortstop Jose Reyes left in the first inning, when he led off with a single and felt stiffness in his left hamstring while running to first base.

He was replaced by a pinch runner.

Reyes, who came in hitting .289 with eight homers and 29 RBIs, was taken out as a precautionary measure, the Mets said. Damion Easley came on as a pinch runner and later scored on a double-play grounder.