NEW YORK — In this game of throws, Kyle Kendrick and the Philadelphia Phillies came up short. Wide and feeble, too.
The Phillies threw it away at all turns Tuesday night while Jonathon Niese hit his spots on the mound and at the plate, leading the New York Mets past the Phillies 5-0 to end a five-game losing streak.
“It wasn’t our best defensive effort,” interim manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Kendrick hurled a pickoff attempt into center field. First baseman Kevin Frandsen let loose an off-target toss to second. Outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Roger Bernadina made weak throws home.
“A couple accurate throws from the outfield could’ve cut down a runner,” Sandberg said.
Niese pitched a three-hitter and retired 17 straight batters. He also lined a game-breaking three-run double.
“One-man show by Niese,” Sandberg said. “Pretty stress-free.”
Niese improved to 3-0 in four starts since coming off the disabled list because of a partially torn rotator cuff. After Michael Young led off the second inning with a single, the left-hander didn’t permit another runner until Young doubled to begin the eighth.
“Easily, best we’ve seen him,” Young said. “Story of the game.”
Niese struck out five and walked one in his second career shutout in 112 major league starts. The Mets took advantage of several poor throws to win several hours after trading veterans Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh.
It was Byrd T-shirt giveaway night at Citi Field. Minus the team’s RBIs leader, Niese (6-6) handled matters at the plate and on the mound.
Niese’s other shutout came in 2010. He popped his left hand into his mitt after Chase Utley flied out to finish this one on his 113th pitch.
The Phillies had won five of their last six under Sandberg, yet looked punchless against Niese. Then again, neither team had a player in the starting lineup batting above .276.
Pitching a day after his 29th birthday, Kyle Kendrick (10-11) went six innings and allowed five runs, only one of them earned.
Kendrick had won all three of his starts against the Mets this year. But he hasn’t done well lately overall, going 1-5 in his last seven starts.
Niese toted a .162 career average to the batter’s box in the third and earned a one-out walk on a 3-2 pitch. He moved up on a bunt by Eric Young Jr. and then took off on Daniel Murphy’s single to right field, easily beating an off-target throw home by Mayberry.
Frandsen’s errant toss trying for a forceout helped the Mets load the bases in a four-run sixth. Travis d’Arnaud lofted a fly to medium-shallow center field, and Andrew Brown scored without a problem on Bernadina’s soft throw home.
“We’re not trying to make errors, you know,” Kendrick said. “You just have to keep pitching through it. That’s what you’ve got to do, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
Niese came up with two outs after an intentional walk and lined a bases-loaded double to the gap in left-center field. The three RBIs on that hit matched his combined total from the past three years.
“Just got lucky,” Kendrick said.
NOTES: Phillies OF Domonic Brown was out with a sore right heel. He hasn’t started since being pulled from Saturday’s game. Sandberg said Brown “still feels it” but “seems to be getting better.” ... Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62) starts Wednesday night vs. Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, hit hard by Detroit on Friday in his season debut. ... Kendrick made his 150th career start and is 64-53. He has not pitched past the sixth inning in his last eight starts.