NEW YORK - For three minutes, Jonathan Papelbon marched from the visitors' bullpen at Citi Field to the dugout. Meanwhile, the Mets chased Ruben Tejada into right field to celebrate a 5-4, 11-inning win Sunday that prevented a Phillies sweep and overcame a 133-pitch effort by Cole Hamels.
Papelbon, the highest-paid reliever in baseball, never appeared until after it ended. He threw seven pitches Friday and 14 on Saturday to preserve wins. Roberto Hernandez, who fired 99 pitches Friday, became Ryne Sandberg's closer Sunday once Antonio Bastardo failed.
Papelbon was "not injured," Sandberg said afterward. Then, five minutes later, the Phillies' manager said his $50 million pitcher "was a little sore." He did not know where. When pressed again, he said it was "neck related."
Almost an hour after Tejada jolted a Jeff Manship fastball for the game-winning single, Papelbon said "everything" was sore. He listed his back and legs as problem areas. He did not expect to miss any further time.
"Just, you know, the daily grind of the season," Papelbon said.
Four hours and 22 minutes of baseball generated a dispiriting, 11-inning defeat. Hamels threw more pitches than any Phillies starter in a decade, but his bullpen robbed him of a victory.
A thin bullpen handicapped Sandberg. Papelbon, Mike Adams and Jake Diekman each appeared in the previous two games. That made Bastardo the de facto closer. He lasted four batters in the ninth, allowed a two-run Daniel Murphy homer, and put the tying run at second. It scored against Hernandez on a Juan Lagares dribbler to short.
Hernandez was alerted by the staff before the game that his services could be required. "I'm never surprised," he said. It was yet another indictment of the Phillies' inability to procure seven capable relievers from anywhere in the organization.
"Well," Sandberg said, "we're trying to get the job done with the guys that are out there."
Manship pitched for the first time in five days and the second time since April 29. The Mets loaded the bases on two infield singles and an intentional walk. Tejada lined a Manship sinker to left. Game over.
The relievers spoiled Hamels' impressive afternoon. The last Phillies starter to throw more pitches was Eric Milton on June 19, 2004. Hamels' 133 pitches were the most in the majors this season. They marked a new career high.
It was a remarkable showing, especially considering how Hamels pitched under duress for much of Mother's Day. Hamels may not pitch again until Saturday; two scheduled off days this week allowed the Phillies to squeeze in their $144 million ace, who missed the first four weeks of the season with biceps tendinitis.
New York cracked him for a run in the first on a broken-bat hit. They threatened for the remainder of the afternoon. Hamels pitched with a runner in scoring position in five of his seven innings. He struck out 10.
Chase Utley even padded the Phillies' lead in the ninth with a run-scoring triple. Still, it was not enough for a flawed bullpen, weakened by Papelbon's absence. The closer entered Sunday with a 14-inning scoreless streak. Phillies relievers not named Papelbon lugged a 5.29 ERA into the game.
Rookie Mario Hollands permitted a single and a walk in the eighth but survived. Bastardo allowed a run for his third straight outing. His ERA is 5.40. His average fastball velocity is 90.9 m.p.h., down from 91.7 m.p.h. in 2013.
He started Eric Young Jr. with two fastballs for called strikes. His third pitch, a slider, was elevated, and Young smacked a double to left.
"That was in my hands," Bastardo said. "I let it go because I missed a pitch."
Murphy crushed a belt-high, 92-m.p.h. fastball deep to right. David Wright struck out. But another Bastardo slider stayed high and Chris Young swatted it for a double.
Two innings later, when the Mets danced, Papelbon was the first to emerge from the Phillies' bullpen. Adams followed. Diekman, wearing a red pullover, trailed. The three relievers held their gloves, and a frustrating afternoon bled into nighttime.
BY THE NUMBERS
Pitches by Cole Hamels, a career high.
Strikeouts by Hamels.
Domonic Brown's batting average after an 0-for-5 day.EndText