Philadelphia goes for its eighth consecutive win over New York on Sunday as the teams wrap up their weekend series at Shea Stadium.
The Phillies (78-69) cut the Mets’ division lead to 4 1/2 games after a 5-3 win on Saturday, capitalizing on a misplayed line drive by Carlos Beltran, which resulted in a two-run triple by Jimmy Rollins and capped a three-run eighth-inning rally.
It was Philadelphia’s major league-leading 45th come-from-behind win of the season, but it still trails San Diego by 1 1/2 games for the NL wild card after the Padres defeated the Giants 6-0 later on Saturday.
“As long as you’re breathing, you’re living,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I mean you’ve got a chance.”
Philadelphia has held the Mets (83-64) to three runs or less in six contests during their last seven meetings. Phillies pitchers have combined for a 3.32 ERA while limiting the Mets to a .236 batting average during the streak.
“We’re not putting them away when we have the opportunity and we’re slowly letting them back in the game,” Mets third baseman David Wright said. “These guys are too good to let them hang around until the seventh, eighth or ninth innings.”
The Phillies last swept a series when it took all four games from New York from Aug. 27-30 in Philadelphia. They failed to capitalize on the momentum from that sweep, though, and won only six of their next 13 games leading up to Friday’s 3-2, 10-inning win in New York.
Philadelphia hopes Adam Eaton (9-9, 6.31 ERA) can continue his own dominance of New York. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts against the Mets this season to improve his career numbers against them to 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six starts.
But Eaton was hit hard Tuesday, allowing four runs and six hits - with three homers - and six strikeouts in five innings of an 8-2 loss to Colorado.
“I don’t think I threw the ball that bad, but a bulk of my mistakes ended up over the fence,” said Eaton, who’s 0-3 with a 7.82 ERA in his last seven starts and has allowed 11 homers in his last five appearances.
The Mets will counter with Oliver Perez (14-9, 3.42), who’s in search of his third consecutive win after a strong outing Monday in a 3-2 victory over Atlanta. The left-hander allowed five hits, including a two-run homer by Brian McCann in the last of his seven innings pitched.
“When he keeps his arm slot up like he did tonight consistently, he’s real good,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said of Perez, who also fanned seven. “He throws strikes and the ball does what it needs to do.”
Though Perez is enjoying the best season of his career, he’s shown control problems in losing both his starts against the Phillies this year. In just 8 2-3 innings, Perez has been tagged for six runs and six hits, including three homers, with 12 walks.
Rollins has been a major problem for the Mets, hitting .355 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games this season. During the Phillies’ winning streak over New York, the shortstop is averaging .394 with three homers and seven RBIs.
Pat Burrell, who has gone hitless in seven at-bats so far in the series, has had tremendous success in his career against Perez, going 5-for-14 with four home runs and seven RBIs.
The Mets hope 41-year-old Moises Alou can continue his hot streak. The left fielder is hitting .391 with three homers and six RBIs this month and is 11-for-26 with two homers and five RBIs lifetime off Eaton.