It was reasonable to expect that the return of Brett Myers was going to be a wild ride for the Phils and it was. Just not the wild ride the Phils were looking for. Myers walked four Mets in a miserable first inning. He pitched okay after that, but the Phils’ hitters didn’t do much. The Phils and Mets went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 3-3 before Jose Reyes broke the game open with a three-run homer off of Ryan Madson.

It wasn’t a good start for Myers, but the Phillies’ sleepy offense continues to be a big part of the story in July. In the last eight games that the Phillies’ starting pitcher has allowed three runs the Phils are 1-7. In 2007 the Phils went 21-11 in games where their starters allowed three runs in a start. 28-15 in 2006. After last night’s game they are 10-11 in 2008 and that’s with a hugely improved bullpen.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets last night, falling 6-3 to drop to 54-47 on the season. Game three of the set is this afternoon after the teams split the first two of the series.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing three runs on three hits and five walks. All three of the hits went for singles and he struck out two. His ERA is 5.82 and the Phils are now 4-14 in games he’s started this season. Using game score as the measure, in 15 of his 18 starts on the season the other team’s starting pitcher pitched better than Myers did.

Jose Reyes grounded to second for the first out in the first. Myers then walked four batters in a row. The fourth walk was to Carlos Beltran and forced in Endy Chavez to put the Mets up 1-0. Marlon Anderson was next and hit a double-play ball to first that Howard didn’t handle. It fortunately went off his glove and right to Utley. Utley threw to Myers covering first to get the second out. David Wright scored from third to put New York up 2-0. Damion Easley grounded to third for the third out, leaving two men stranded.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 second with the score tied at 2-2.

With one out in the third the Mets again loaded the bases when Wright singled, Carlos Delgado was hit by a pitch and Beltran singled into center. Myers struck Anderson out for the second out, Damion Easley was next hit a ball in the hole between third and short that went off the glove of Rollins for a single. Rollins may not have had a play anywhere even if he had fielded it cleanly. Wright scored and the run put the Mets up 3-2. Brian Schneider hit the first pitch of his at-bat to first for a ground out that ended the inning.

In the fourth, Myers thought he had leadoff hitter pitcher John Maine struck out on an 0-2 curveball but didn’t get the call. Maine singled into left, but Myers got the next three behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Madson started the sixth with the game tied at 3-3. Easley led off with a slowly hit ground ball up the middle. Rollins tried to barehand it in front of second base but didn’t handle it and Easley had an infield single. Schneider followed with a single that moved Easley to second. Maine tried to bunt but fouled off strike three for the first out. Reyes was next and he blasted Madson’s first pitch out to right-center for a three-run homer that changed the game and put the Mets up 6-3. Reyes circled the bases with a fist and then a single finger in the air, a gesture that was apparently an expression of exuberance about the possibility the Mets might be tied for first with 61 games to go if the pen didn’t blow it again or perhaps a reference to either the Mets winning the NL East in 2006 or something he had done as a small child while growing up in the Dominican Republic. Madson struck out Chavez for the second out before Wright singled and stole second. Delgado followed with a walk before Beltran grounded to second for the third out.

Terrible inning for Madson.

Condrey pitched the seventh. Easley singled with one out and moved to third when Schneider followed with a double. Fernando Tatis hit for the pitcher Maine and grounded to third for the second out with the runners holding. Reyes was walked intentionally to load the bases and Chavez grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Condrey returned for the eighth. Wright led off with a ground ball to third that new third baseman Feliz didn’t handle for an error. Delgado singled to left and Wright moved to second. Beltran bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Righty Robinson Cancel hit for the pitcher Joe Smith and grounded to short with the runners holding. Easley grounded to second to leave them both stranded.

The Mets hit the pen hard. In three innings Madson and Condrey combined to allow three runs on seven hits and two walks. Condrey threw 31 pitches and Madson 24.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty John Maine went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Dobbs (6) Victorino (7) Jenkins (8) Ruiz. That’s a new one. I like it. Burrell hits third, breaking up Utley and Howard as the Phils put four lefties in their lineup. Victorino drops down to sixth even against the righty with Jenkins hitting seventh to split Dobbs and Jenkins. I like Utley hitting two instead of Victorino.

1-2-3 in the first.

Down 2-0 in the second, Victorino and Jenkins homered back-to-back with two outs, tying the game at 2-2. Ruiz drew a walk before Myers struck out to end the frame.

Utley walked with one out in the third, but Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Ruiz led off the fifth with a single and Myers bunted him to second. Rollins doubled into right center and Ruiz scored, tying the game at 3-3. Utley popped to second and Burrell struck out to set the Phillies down.

Howard led off the sixth with a single. Dobbs flew to left for the first out before Victorino hit a slow ground ball to second. Easley tagged Howard as he went by and threw to first to complete the double-play. Replays showed that Easley missed the tag on Howard.

With two outs in the seventh, Taguchi hit for Madson and singled. Rollins flew to right for the third out.

Down 6-3 in the eighth, Burrell drew a one out walk. Howard lined to Reyes for the second out and with lefty Scott Schoeneweis on the mound Feliz hit for Dobbs. Righty Joe Smith entered the game for the Mets and got Feliz to ground back to the mound for the third out.

Feliz is now 1-for-17 since the All-Star break.

Billy Wagner threw a 1-2-3 ninth. Bruntlett hit for Jenkins and grounded to third for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-16.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 1-for-4. He’s hitting 320/378/693 in July.

Dobbs 0-for-3. He’s 1-for-his-last-10.

Victorino 1-for-4 with his second home run in two days. He’s slugging .592 in July with 11 extra-base hits, including five home runs.

Jenkins 1-for-3 with a home run and two strikeouts.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-his-last-15 with two walks.

Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.90) faces lefty Oliver Perez (6-6, 4.36) this afternoon. Perez hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last four starts. In those outings he has struck out 27 in 26 innings. Opponents are hitting just .233 against him, but he’s walked 63 in 109 1/3 innings (that’s too many). He’s made three starts against the Phillies this season and hasn’t been charged with a run in 18 1/3 innings. Moyer has allowed three or fewer runs in eight straight starts and hasn’t allowed a home run in 19 2/3 innings over his last three. He has a 3.12 ERA in his ten starts away from Citizens Bank Park.