PHILADELPHIA (AP)—A comfortable lead in the standings allows the New York Mets to shrug off losing streaks.
Carlos Delgado ended a 2 1/2 -week homer drought by connecting twice, John Maine pitched six solid innings and the Mets avoided a four-game sweep with a 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
Delgado drove in four runs with a sacrifice fly, triple and a pair of solo homers—the first time he went deep since July 30. Carlos Beltran also hit a solo shot for the Mets, who have a 13-game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
“We always try to get back to our approach to the game,” manager Willie Randolph said. “We wanted to get out of here without getting swept.”
Philadelphia, which has climbed back in the playoff race after overhauling its roster before the trade deadline, remained 2 1/2 games behind NL wild card-leading Cincinnati.
“We had chances, but didn’t get the big hit at the right moment,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Maine (3-3) allowed two runs and eight hits to win his third straight decision. The rookie right-hander lost his first three starts, but has given up just six runs in 33 1-3 innings over his last five outings.
Howard cut the Phillies’ deficit to 4-2 with another opposite-field homer, a two-run drive in the fourth. But Beltran hit his 34th homer and Delgado followed with his 28th to make it 6-2 in the fifth.
“I’ve been working on some things, getting more hand movement,” Delgado said. “I got some good pitches to hit.”
Rookie Scott Mathieson (1-4) gave up six runs and eight hits in four innings. He hasn’t reached the fifth inning in four of his seven starts, but Manuel said the right-hander isn’t in danger of losing his job in the rotation.
“Who we got is what we’re using,” Manuel said.
A crowd of 45,775 that included many Mets fans was the largest in the three-year history of Citizens Bank Park. For the first time in the series, the Phillies couldn’t silence the “Let’s Go Mets!” chants.
New York took its first lead since the first inning Tuesday with a run in the first and added two more in the second.
Jose Reyes led off with an infield single to shortstop. He advanced to third on Beltran’s single and scored on Delgado’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Mike DiFelice and Reyes had RBI singles to put the Mets ahead 3-0 in the second. Delgado made it 4-0 in the third. One pitch after reaching the second deck on a ball that just hooked foul, Delgado drove one off the brick wall beyond the center-field fence.
He tripled to right field for New York’s final run in the seventh.
“I’m getting more confident out there,” Maine said.
Beltran’s homer was his 23rd on the road, tying him with Howard Johnson for New York’s single-season record. Johnson did it in 1987. … Philadelphia’s Mike Lieberthal tied Red Dooin for the most games caught in team history at 1,124. … DiFelice’s RBI was his first since July 7, 2004, with Detroit. … Phillies 3B Abraham Nunez extended his hitting streak to nine games with an infield single in the third. … Delgado has 39 career multihomer games. His previous one was June 9 at Arizona. … The Mets have hit back-to-back homers five times this season. … Mets 2B Jose Valentin left with a slight strain of his hamstring. Randolph said Valentin will be OK.