NEW YORK (AP)—Jose Reyes thought about the question for a moment. Which did he prefer—his major league-leading ninth triple or the acrobatic pivot on an eighth-inning double play that ended the last Philadelphia Phillies’ late rally attempt?
“The triple, I got two RBIs,” Reyes said after the New York Mets’ 5-3 victory Thursday. “The double play was nice, too.”
Reyes’ triple helped the Mets build an early 5-1 lead, something Pedro Martinez appreciated on a day when he didn’t have his best stuff. The turn on the double play sealed the victory.
Both plays were largely instinct.
“I was thinking triple right away,” Reyes said. “They were playing a little shallow, and I knew I was going to third base, no doubt about it.”
The double play was more complicated.
With runners at first and second and one out in the eighth, reliever Roberto Hernandez came in to face Tomas Perez. Hernandez threw one pitch, and Perez broke his bat with a grounder to second. The ball was hit slowly, and Marlon Anderson rushed his throw to Reyes with runner Chase Utley bearing down.
“I was trying to catch the ball and throw it,” Reyes said. “He didn’t touch me. It’s instinct. The runner was right there. He almost got me. I had to get that throw out of there. It happened in the moment.”
The Mets turned the DP, and Braden Looper pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save in 19 opportunities.
Looper was grateful for the chance after blowing Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees.
“It was great to have the opportunity,” he said. “I wasn’t worried. You watch and you wait to see what happens and your chance comes up there.”
Martinez won for the seventh time in his last eight decisions, and Chris Woodward drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded single as the Mets sent the slumping Phillies to their sixth loss in seven games. Philadelphia has dropped 11 of 15 following a 12-1 homestand.
Martinez (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, walked two and struck out six. He raised his strikeout total to 2,776, moving past Frank Tanana (2,773) and into 17th place on the career list.
“Without a doubt, my teammates picked me up today,” Martinez said. “We played excellent defense, got an early lead and that made it easier for me.”
Jon Lieber (8-8) lost his fourth straight start, giving up five runs and six hits in four innings. His ERA has risen from 2.57 on May 7, when he was 5-1, to 5.18.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “The bottom line is I’m the one to blame. It’s really upsetting because I feel like I’m letting the team down. It’s time for me to be more consistent.”
Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies the lead in the second inning with a leadoff home run. It was the seventh homer of the season for Rollins and the ninth allowed by Martinez.
Rollins, a switch hitter, was one of eight left-handed batters in a revamped Phillies lineup that had catcher Todd Pratt was the only right-handed batter. Regulars David Bell, Pat Burrell, Jason Michaels and Mike Lieberthal all started on the bench.
Lieberthal came into the game in the bottom of the second inning when both Pratt and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel were thrown out by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for arguing ball and strike calls. Manuel has been ejected four times this season, twice by Marquez.
“I was upset because he threw Todd out of the game,” Manuel said. “He was talking to him. He wasn’t making gestures or anything. He did it quick. He gave me an answer that he used profanity, and I started to question him on that.”
That’s when Manuel got tossed.
“I felt I should have stayed in the game,” Manuel said. “It wasn’t a good time to get thrown out. But I felt I also had to take up for my catcher. When I got thrown out, it seems like that’s when things started to fall apart.”
New York loaded the bases in the inning on a single by Cliff Floyd and two walks—both after Pratt was ejected, and Woodward hit a go-ahead single.
In the fourth, David Wright was hit by a pitch and Woodward followed with a double. After Martinez struck out, Reyes tripled to make it 4-1 and scored on Cameron’s single through the drawn-in infield.
After Rollins singled with one out in the sixth and advanced to third on a stolen base and an infield out, Martinez struck out Perez with his 99th and final pitch.
Walks to Jim Thome and Utley gave the Phillies two runners in the eighth, but Roberto Hernandez relieved Ring and got Perez to hit into the double play.
Floyd defeated the overshifted defense with a bunt down the third-base line in the third inning. He also stole two bases. … Carlos Beltran, with just one stolen base previously this season, stole second and third on consecutive pitches in the seventh inning.