NEW YORK -- The red-hot Padres are on a roll, taking their act on the road and handing New York a defeat at the first-ever game played at the Mets' new Citi Field.
The Mets gave up the first leadoff home run to open a major league ballpark, a third-pitch drive by Jody Gerut off Mike Pelfrey. Then in the second inning, Pelfrey toppled to the mound in mid-delivery to Padres pitcher Walter Silva, keeling over when he caught a cleat on the mound.
After David Wright tied the score 5-all with a three-run homer in the fifth, San Diego scored the tiebreaking run in appropriately goofy fashion: Ryan Church allowed Luis Rodriguez's leadoff fly to right field in the sixth to glance off his glove for a three-base error, and Rodriguez came home when Pedro Feliciano balked with two outs, bringing more boos from the opening crowd of 41,007.
The Friars, at 6-2, now sit atop the National League West.
So Citi Field began its run in the same manner the Mets started play at the Polo Grounds in 1962 and at Shea Stadium two years later -- with a defeat. The Mets just hope the Padres' 6-5 win Monday night wasn't the start of a trend.
"It's a lot of fun. Obviously, we would have liked to have gotten the win, but we're going to play some good baseball here, and we're going to have fun doing it," Wright said. "I'm looking forward to Wednesday already. I can't wait to get back out here because it's a lot of fun coming to this ballpark and to have these amenities."
When the Mets began life at Manhattan's Polo Grounds in 1962, they opened with a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who scored what turned out to be the decisive run on an eighth-inning wild pitch by Ray Daviault. The Pirates won Shea Stadium's debut 4-3 two years later as Willie Stargell homered leading off the second to drive in the first run, then scored on Bill Mazeroski's eighth-inning single to break a 3-all tie.
The Mets have won just a pair of World Series titles, in 1969 and 1986, and remain overshadowed by the Yankees, who have a record 26 championships. Even in ballparks there's one-upmanship -- on Thursday, the new $1.5 billion granite-and-limestone Yankee Stadium hosts its first regular-season game, just three days after $800 million Citi Field, with its red brick exterior and 160-foot wide Jackie Robinson Rotunda evokes Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field.
Following September collapses in Shea Stadium's final two seasons, the Mets want to change the team's image.
But then Rodriguez hit the game-changing fly off Brian Stokes (0-1).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gerut became the first leadoff batter to homer opening a big league ballpark.
Edward Mujica (1-1) retired his only batter for his first major league win. Duaner Sanchez worked a perfect eighth and Heath Bell -- both former Mets -- pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.
Pelfrey summed up the first night after he fell, when manager Jerry Manuel and a trainer came to the mound to check on him.
"I asked them if the game was on TV," Pelfrey said. "It was pretty embarrassing."