NEW YORK (AP) - The first try for the new first baseman of the Oakland Athletics went a little awry.
Mark Ellis and Chris Carter each had trouble with balls hit by Jose Reyes, and the mistakes helped the New York Mets beat the A's 4-1 on a dreary Thursday.
A day after full-time first baseman Daric Barton was demoted to the minors because of a slump, Ellis started at the spot for the first time in his nine-season career.
``A little nervous before the game and it took me a little while to get used to it,' the longtime second baseman admitted.
The Mets led 2-0 when the speedy Reyes opened the fifth with a grounder and Ellis ranged much too far to his right, missing the ball and leaving the bag uncovered. Second baseman Jemile Weeks made a clean pickup, but zipped a throw past scrambling pitcher Graham Godfrey (1-1) for an error. A sacrifice set up Daniel Murphy's RBI single with two outs.
``Obviously, one ball just took over. After a stab, I knew I made a mistake,' Ellis said. ``Just one of those things where the more you're out there, the better you're going to be.'
The last time Ellis played first base was in 2006, for only one game. A's manager Bob Melvin appreciated Ellis' effort.
``Well, here's a second baseman with a terrific amount of range. You want him to err on the side of aggressiveness,' Melvin said. ``I thought he was fine. The first time you have to do that on a major league field, I don't know how long it's been for him.'
In the sixth, the A's made a double-switch and inserted Chris Carter at first base - a highly touted minor leaguer, he was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento and arrived at the ballpark in midmorning after an all-night flight from the West.
Carter's first play was a foul popup by Reyes with two outs that he dropped near the stands for an error as Weeks brushed against him. Reyes, the NL's top hitter, slapped the next pitch from Craig Breslow for an RBI single.
``Yeah, he jostled me. It hit off my glove,' Carter said.
Said Reyes: ``You don't have too many opportunities like that in the big leagues.'
After the start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 15 minutes, the Mets won their second in a row. They beat the A's on Wednesday night in a rain-interrupted game that took 13 innings and ended after midnight.
Chris Capuano (6-7) shut out the A's on five hits for six innings, walking none and striking out seven. He left with discomfort in his abdomen and Pedro Beato relieved to begin the seventh. Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 20th save in 23 chances, a day after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
Reyes hit a pair of RBI singles and also scored a run.
Coco Crisp had a sacrifice fly in the Oakland eighth.
The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the second. Capuano grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and Reyes hit an RBI single.
NOTES: Justin Turner was hit in the left thigh by Godfrey in the first inning. Turner was plunked in nearly the same spot with two outs and the bases loaded in the 13th inning Wednesday night, ending the game. ... Hideki Matsui sat out for the A's. Normally a DH, he played the outfield for the first time this season and did quite well in the opening two games of the series. He's likely to start twice in the outfield this weekend at Philadelphia. ... The A's put OF Josh Willingham, who leads the team in homers and RBIs, on the DL because of a strained left Achilles'. Carter was summoned - he caught a ride from Tucson to Phoenix on Wednesday night, then took a redeye flight that was delayed. He got to New York around 8:45 a.m.
The Associated Press News Service
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