Just about everyone associated with the New York Mets would have you believe that the collapse of 2007 is all but forgotten as the team presses forward with a new attitude and a new manager. And maybe it was. But I’m pretty sure they remember it now, cause in last night’s game the Mets and Phils looked a whole lot like the guys from last year.
The Phillies picked a perfect time to snap out of their offensive slump. Down 5-2 in the ninth, the Phils sent 11 men to the plate and scored six times. So Taguchi, slumping through a miserable season, tied the game with a two-run double. One batter latter Jimmy Rollins gave the Phils all the runs they would need with a two-run double of his own.
It was just about as pretty as a six-run rally in the ninth can be — but if the Mets take the next two games of the set it’s not going to mean a lot.
Joe Blanton’s debut with the Phillies was expected to be the story of the game, but proved to be something of a non-event. Blanton pitched poorly, allowing a pair of two-run homers as he yielded five runs in six innings.
The Phillies beat the New York Mets last night, winning 8-6 to improve to 54-46 on the season. The Phils reclaim sole ownership of the lead in the NL East, a game ahead of both the Mets and the Marlins.
Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out one.
Endy Chavez singled to right with one out in the first, but Blanton got the next two behind him.
He hit Damion Easley with one out in the second. Marlon Anderson flew to left for the second out before Ramon Castro dribbled a ball to third that went for an infield single. Blanton struck out Johan Santana to end the inning.
Jose Reyes led off the third and walked on four pitches. Chavez was next and he hit a ground ball to the right of Utley. Utley knocked it down, sliding, but couldn’t make the play and Chavez was safe with an infield single that moved Reyes to second. He should have made the play. David Wright was next and ripped a 2-2 pitch into left and off the wall. Reyes scored to tie the game at 1-1, but Burrell fielded it cleanly off the wall and Rollins made a nice relay to the plate when Chavez was tagged out for the first out. With Wright on second, Carlos Beltran grounded hard to first and Wright went to third. Blanton got ahead of Delgado 0-2 but threw two of his next three pitches in the dirt before Delgado clubbed a 3-2 pitch out to right to put New York up 3-1. Easley grounded to short for the third out.
Between innings Manuel was ejected for arguing that Delgado should have been out on a check swing on a ball that was in the dirt. Didn’t look so clear on replay — Delgado probably crossed the plate, but the call wasn’t awful.
Marlon Anderson led off the fourth with an infield single. Castro hit into a double-play behind him before Santana singled to center. Reyes popped to Rollins for the third out.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fifth.
He got the first two in the sixth before he walked Anderson on four pitches. Castro was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to left to put the Mets up 5-1. Santana followed with a walk before Reyes flew to right for the third out.
Seanez started the seventh down 5-2. Chavez led off with a double just out of the reach of Werth in right. Wright followed with a single to right and this time it was Werth who threw Chavez out at the plate. Second time in the game that Chavez made the first out of the inning at the plate — this time it only took one good throw. Wright went to second on the play at the plate. Beltran was walked intentionally and Romero came in to pitch to Delgado and got Delgado to fly to shallow center on one pitch. Romero stayed in to pitch to the righty Easley and hit him in the middle of his back to load the bases. Fernando Tatis hit for lefty Marlon Anderson and hit a soft liner to second that Utley caught on a dive to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Chad Durbin threw a 1-2-3 eighth, setting down Castro, pinch-hitter Argenis Reyes and Jose Reyes.
Lidge started the ninth with the Phils on top 8-5. Chavez led off with a walk and took second without a throw before Wright struck out for the first out. A wild pitch moved Chavez to third before Beltran hit a hard ground ball to first that Howard took for the second out. Nice play by Howard and a huge second out as Chavez scored to make it 8-6. Delgado grounded to third to end the game.
Three innings for the pen in which they allow a run on two hits and a walk. Durbin’s 1-2-3 eighth against the bottom of the order and Reyes was big. The Phils used four relievers — of the pitchers they used, Seanez ended the day with the highest ERA for the season: 2.87. Lidge threw 21 pitches, Durbin 16, Seanez 11 and Romero 10.
The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Johan Santana went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Feliz (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. Victorino drops to seventh in the lineup against the lefty. Burrell up to third, splitting the lefties Utley and Howard. Werth in right and hitting fifth instead of sixth. Ruiz catches. Glad Rollins didn’t drop to third this time.
Burrell and Howard singled back-to-back with two outs in the first. Werth followed with a single up the middle and Burrell scored to put the Phils up 1-0 with Howard holding second. Feliz went down swinging on four pitches to leave the runners stranded.
Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Blanton bunted him to second. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.
1-2-3 in the third and fourth.
Blanton singled to right with one out in the fifth. Rollins hit into a double-play behind him.
1-2-3 in the sixth.
With two outs in the seventh, Victorino hit a 1-1 pitch out to left. It cut the Mets’ lead to 5-2. Ruiz followed with a single up the middle. Coste hit for Blanton and struck out.
With two outs in the eighth, Burrell hit a ball down the left field line and off the chalk for a double. Howard flew to Beltran in right-center for set the Phillies down.
The Phillies started the ninth down 5-2. Duaner Sanchez took over for Santana, who had thrown 105 pitches to get through eight innings. Werth singled. Dobbs hit for Feliz and singled. Victorino singled into center and the bases were loaded. Righty Joe Smith relieved Sanchez to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz chopped a ball just to the shortstop side of second base. Victorino was running hard all the way. Reyes fielded, looked at first and then tried to step on second but missed the bag. Victorino was safe, Werth scored to make it 5-3 and the Phils still had the bases loaded. Great hustle by Victorino and a bad play by Reyes. Jenkins hit for Durbin and the Mets called on lefty Pedro Feliciano. Jimy Williams called on Taguchi, still without a pinch-hit on the season, to hit for Jenkins. Taguchi got behind 0-2 before he hit a 2-2 pitch over the head of Chavez in right. Dobbs and Victorino both scored, tying the game at 5-5, with Ruiz going to third on the double. Rollins doubled down the left-field line, clearing the bases with the Phils up 7-5. Utley grounded to first for the first out, moving Rollins to third. The lefty Feliciano walked Burrell intentionally before Howard hit a ball back to the mound that may have been a double-play, but Feliciano didn’t field it cleanly and had to take the out at first. Rollins scored to make it 8-5 and Burrell went to second. Aaron Heilman came in to pitch to Werth and walked him before Dobbs popped to short for the third out.
Second huge hit of the month for Taguchi. On July 11 against the Snakes he led off the twelfth with a single and came around to score the winning run on a single by Werth three batters later.
Rollins was 1-for-5 with a huge double and two RBI.
Utley was 0-for-5.
Burrell 2-for-4 with a walk and a double.
Howard 1-for-5 with an RBI.
Werth 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI and started the ninth-inning rally.
Feliz was 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 1-for-16 with eight strikeouts since the All-Star break.
Victorino had a big game. 2-for-4 with his sixth home run.
Ruiz 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84) faces righty John Maine (8-7, 4.22) tonight. Maine hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last four starts. He has a 6.63 ERA in those outings. In two starts against the Phillies this season he’s thrown to a 3.09 ERA with a 1.11 ratio. Myers has been terrible this season and will be making his first start since June 27 coming off a stint in the minors. The Phils have lost nine of the last ten games he’s started and are 4-13 with him on the hill this season.