"It's something that happens," Hamels said.
But this, in Hamels' debut against a team batting Scott Hairston fifth, was slightly stunning. So it goes in a season with such lofty expectations four out of every five nights.
The honeymoon for the Four Aces lasted 68 pitches into the fourth game. Hamels was booed as he sauntered to the dugout after allowing the second hit to the opposing pitcher in the same inning.
"He started going real fast," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "At times, he has that problem. He couldn't get out of it."
The wind blew plastic bags, wrappers, and Howard's cap around Citizens Bank Park. Hamels' fastball danced too, but to the wrong spots. Just 20 of the 37 fastballs Hamels threw were strikes. Worse yet, in the dreadful third, just 21 of the 41 pitches he threw were in the strike zone.
It was arguably the worst start for the 27-year-old lefthander since Aug. 24, 2006, when in two innings he allowed nine runs (five earned) to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Hamels was a 22-year-old rookie then, not the youngest member of what has been hailed as one of the greatest rotations ever. One start a season will not make, but that does not diminish Hamels' ineffectiveness Tuesday.
"It was a tough night," catcher Carlos Ruiz said.
Never before had a Mets pitcher had two hits in the same inning. Young had gone 681 days without a hit in the majors and began the third with a single past a drawn-in Placido Polanco at third. He ended Hamels' night with a broken-bat single past Polanco to score the sixth run of the inning.
In between, there were four singles by non-pitchers, two walks, a passed ball, a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rich Dubee, and a long conversation between Ruiz and home-plate umpire Chris Guccione.
Right before Howard's cap blew away, Hamels threw two consecutive fastballs low and away to Davis that he thought were strikes. Guccione said no. Ruiz engaged the umpire in a lengthy conversation between pitches.
"Cole was getting mad," Ruiz said.
The next fastball was on the outside edge again, but higher in the zone. Davis stroked it up the middle. Three batters later, Kyle Kendrick replaced Hamels.
Hamels' spring did not end well, but he historically has not had good springs or good Aprils. On Tuesday, he elicited just six swings and misses and relied heavily on his fastball and change-up.
He threw his fourth pitch, his curveball, just once. With a 1-1 count, Hamels said he had the right time to throw it against David Wright. Ruiz thought it was a good pitch. Wright hit it for a two-run single in the third.
"That," Hamels said, "was the hit that summed up the inning."
And by the time the first loss of this season officially had been recorded, most of the 127th-straight sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park had departed for warmer locales, just as Hamels had done quite earlier than expected.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/magelb