Jose Reyes was 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits, leading the Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia’s loss clinched the NL East title for Atlanta, its unprecedented 14th straight division crown.
Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to a team-record 32 games with a single in the seventh for the Phillies, who fell 2 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL wild-card race.
The Mets were eliminated with the Astros’ 3-1 victory over St. Louis.
“We’re down three games (in the loss column) with four left. That’s a hard battle,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “At the same time, we don’t quit.”
Juan Padilla (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief to get the win. Aaron Heilman finished with two scoreless innings for his fourth save, striking out Bobby Abreu with a runner on second to end it.
“The satisfaction is I challenged these guys two weeks ago to keep playing hard and they have,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
Lieber (16-13) gave up three runs and nine hits in seven innings. He hadn’t lost a regular-season start in September or October since 2001, going 12-0 in that span and 4-0 this season.
Victor Zambrano allowed two unearned runs and two hits in 4 2-3 innings in his first start since Sept. 2. Zambrano replaced Pedro Martinez in the rotation after the three-time Cy Young Award winner was shut down for the season.
Helped by New York’s shoddy defense, the Phillies finally broke through against Zambrano with two runs in the fifth after getting just one hit through the first four.
Lieber scored when shortstop Reyes missed catcher Mike Piazza’s throw to second on Lofton’s steal. Lofton advanced to third as the ball sailed into center field for an error on Reyes. Chase Utley then walked and Lofton scored on Abreu’s groundout to cut it to 3-2.
Rollins pumped his fist as he ran to first base after hitting a sharp grounder up the middle off Padilla to start the seventh. He got a standing ovation and tipped his helmet to the crowd while standing on first base.
The Phillies had two runners on, but Padilla fanned Burrell to end the inning. Burrell also struck out with runners on first and second to end the first. Abreu struck out, leaving a runner on third in the third.
“He’s a good baserunner. That was bad judgment,” Manuel said.
Lieber pitched out of a jam after Reyes tripled to start the seventh. He struck out Ramon Castro with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Reyes led off the game with a single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on Beltran’s slow roller fielded by Lieber.
Reyes doubled with one out in the third and scored on Marlon Anderson’s RBI single to make it 2-0. Beltran’s RBI double gave the Mets a 3-0 lead.
Rollins had been tied for the Phillies’ record with Ed Delahanty, who hit in 31 games in a row in 1899. Rollins’ streak is the longest in the majors since Florida’s Luis Castillo hit in 35 straight in 2002.
“It would’ve been nice to get the win,” Rollins said. “If we win and the streak is over, I would’ve been proud.”
The Mets have been the Phillies’ toughest opponent in the NL East. Philadelphia is 6-11 against the Mets, 28-26 against the rest of the division.
Bell dislocated his right ring finger. He’s day to day. … Rollins extended his streak by hitting leadoff homers the previous two games. He has tied his career best with 190 hits. … Lofton stole three bases. He has 21 this season. … Reyes is 10-for-13 against Lieber. It was his sixth career four-hit game and fourth this season. … Piazza left with a bruised left hand in the sixth.