Mets 6, Phillies 5, 1st game; Mets 5, Phillies 2, 2nd game
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Facing a potent Phillies lineup, John Maine again was at his best.
Damion Easley also connected for the NL East-leading Mets, who moved five games ahead of the Phillies.
Maine (9-4) allowed two runs—one earned—and four hits in eight-plus innings to improve to 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six career starts against Philadelphia. He struck out six and had no walks.
The Phillies entered the day leading the NL in runs scored and also led the league last year. But they can’t figure out Maine.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Maine said when asked about his mastery of the Phillies. “I just have to go out there and pitch.”
Billy Wagner relieved Maine after Jimmy Rollins led off the ninth with a double. He allowed an RBI single to Chase Utley, and walked Ryan Howard. With two on and two outs, he faced Pat Burrell as the tying run and struck him out swinging.
The last time Wagner faced Burrell, the slugger hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning. Philadelphia went on to win that game 6-3 in 10 innings to finish off a three-game sweep at Shea Stadium earlier this month.
The injury-riddled Phillies are using three rookie pitchers in this pivotal four-game series. They were counting on a strong outing from ace Cole Hamels against Maine, but he struggled in his third bid to win his 10th game.
Hamels (9-4) gave up three runs and five hits in five innings, tying a career-high with five walks.
“At times, he was overthrowing,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Hamels threw a wild pitch behind Reyes on ball four, allowing Shawn Green to score from third base.
Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa issued a warning to both teams after Hamels’ pitch nearly hit Reyes.
Beltran homered leading off the third to make it 2-0. After Utley’s sacrifice fly in the fourth cut it to 2-1, Beltran connected again for a 3-1 lead in the fifth.
Easley hit a two-run shot to straightaway center off Geoff Geary in the seventh.
Beltran was robbed of extra bases in the sixth when right fielder Michael Bourn made an outstanding running catch on his hard liner. Bourn also robbed Maine with an excellent play earlier.
“We feel good about ourselves,” Beltran said. “We know the Phillies are contenders. This is a real important series.”
Manuel may have fired up Hernandez in the opener when he asked umpires to check the 41-year-old right-hander’s cap because he thought there was resin on it. Nothing unusual was found, and El Duque wasn’t pleased as he walked around muttering unprintable words.
“Oh yeah. He was speaking Spanglish,” catcher Ramon Castro said.
Hernandez said he simply concentrated on pitching.
“Ask him,” he repeated when asked why Manuel questioned his cap.
Hernandez (4-3) baffled the Phillies with his off-speed arsenal. He gave up two runs and three hits, including solo homers to Aaron Rowand and pinch-hitter Chris Coste. Hernandez struck out seven, though he barely reached 80 mph and mostly threw in the 60s and low 70s.
“I was glad they did that,” manager Willie Randolph said of the pregame tactic. “They did us a favor. He competes either way, but it’s good to get lathered up.”
J.D. Durbin’s first appearance with the Phillies, his fourth team this season, showed why the right-hander often changes uniforms. Released from three organizations before the second week of April, Durbin (0-1), allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings, making his second career start.
“It’s not really an audition. It’s something where you’ve got to go out and perform,” Durbin said.
Guillermo Mota allowed a two-run homer to Wes Helms in the seventh that got the Phillies within 6-4. Pinch-hitter Burrell’s RBI single off Aaron Heilman cut it to 6-5 in the eighth. But Wagner struck out the side in the ninth for his 16th save.
Durbin struck out the side in the first inning, freezing Reyes and Beltran on called third strikes.
It was downhill from there.
Delgado hit a two-run homer in the second that landed in Philadelphia’s bullpen in right-center to make it 2-0.
Rowand hit a hanging curve ball into the left-field seats to cut it to 2-1 in the second. But Reyes answered with a solo shot in the third to make it 3-1.
Durbin unraveled in the fourth, giving up three runs with two outs, including one on a wild pitch.
The Phillies have lost Jon Lieber (foot) and two-time All-Star Freddy Garcia (shoulder), both likely for the season, and closer Tom Gordon (shoulder) and starter-turned-closer Brett Myers (shoulder) remain sidelined. ^Notes: The Phillies (41-39) are 0-4 when they have a chance to move a season-best five games above .500. … Manuel, a consistent target for criticism in Philadelphia, drew cheers when he asked for the check on Hernandez’s cap. … Durbin’s only other start was for Minnesota against Cleveland on Sept. 23, 2004. He lasted three innings, allowing five runs. … Coste’s pinch-hit homer was the first of his career and the fourth for the Phillies this season. … Beltran has 19 career multihomer games, including two this season.
- Giants make plans to aid Japan in wake of quake, flood disasters
- Nationals hold off Giants' rally in 9th in 4-2 win
- Diaz's homer helps Cardinals beat Marlins and Fernandez, 5-4
- Cubs activate Coghlan from DL, option La Stella
- Kepler homers to lead Twins in 6-2 win over Orioles
- Altherr makes big return in first game back for Phillies