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Rookie call-up lit up as Mets lose first game in post-Duda era

SAN DIEGO — Chris Flexen was devoured on his first day on the new job, but at least it’s over and he escaped with his limbs intact.

In all fairness, the 23-year-old rookie, in his major league debut, wasn’t the only member of the Mets who slogged through Thursday night.

The first game of the post-Lucas Duda era was an all-around flop for the Mets, who lost 7-5 to the Padres at Petco Park to finish with a split in the four-game series.

Before the game, the Mets (47-53) traded Duda to the Rays for minor league reliever Drew Smith.

Flexen, promoted from Double-A Binghamton to replace injured Zack Wheeler in the rotation, didn’t survive past the third inning, and another rookie, Tyler Pill, was equally ineffective in relief.

“It was a good learning experience,” Flexen said.

Manager Terry Collins said he’s uncertain if Flexen will remain in the rotation to pitch at Colorado next week.

“It was a good experience for him,” Collins said. “He’s going to be a good pitcher. He’s got good stuff.”

Flexen, who became the first pitcher promoted directly from Double-A to start a game for the Mets since Mike Pelfrey in 2006, allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on five hits, four walks and a hit batter in his three-inning stint.

Dusty Coleman’s three-run homer off Pill in the fifth gave the Padres a 7-1 lead and ended realistic hope Flexen would be exonerated.

But the Mets at least tried: Jay Bruce launched a two-run homer in the seventh that narrowed the deficit to 7-5, after Asdrubal Cabrera had scored on a balk in the inning and Yoenis Cespedes delivered an RBI double.

Flexen’s night unraveled in the second when he walked two, hit a batter and surrendered two hits. Manuel Margot stroked a bases-loaded double that drove in two runs, with a third scoring on Michael Conforto’s throwing error.

Flexen hung an 0-2 curveball to Margot leading off the bottom of the first and watched the ball disappear behind the left-field fence.

“I told myself at that moment, ‘Hey, welcome to the big leagues,’ ” Flexen said. “It was a tough outing to swallow, but I’m still living the dream here.”

Wheeler was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a stress reaction in his right arm, precipitating the need for Flexen, who was 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts for Binghamton.

Flexen was in spring training with the Mets this season, but never got to pitch because of a bone chip in his right knee, which has since been removed.

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/07/28/rookie-call-up-lit-up-as-mets-lose-first-game-in-post-duda-era/

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