For one game-saving play, at least and at last, Bruntlett seemed a suitable replacement for the MVP.
Hours after Rollins was placed on the 15-day disabled list, Bruntlett made a diving stop on Carlos Beltran’s hard grounder up the middle with two outs in the ninth and runners on first and second. Bruntlett threw out Beltran at first, likely preventing the tying run from scoring.
“Did I think it was through? He had it all the way,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Utley went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs and the Phillies won the finale of the three-game series and ended Philadelphia’s four-game losing streak against the Mets.
Bruntlett went 1-for-4 and is only batting .186 this season subbing for Rollins. He’s been booed because of his lack of production at the plate, but his one dazzling play on the final pitch of the game was enough for him to leave the field to a standing ovation.
“That’s as big as they come,” Bruntlett said.
Feliz led off the seventh with the decisive homer off Pedro Feliciano (0-1) and sent the crowd of 45,173—the largest of the season—into a frenzy.
“I just want to show people what I can do for the team,” Feliz said.
Phillies and Mets fans taunted each other all weekend, with finger pointing, derisive chants and even some fights making it feel more like an Eagles-Cowboys game than a late-April series between the NL East rivals.
The Mets fans who made the trip went wild when their team scored four runs in the sixth to tie the game.
“We battled back. It’s going to be like this all year with these guys,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
Phillies starter Adam Eaton, who had a 5-0 career mark against the Mets, quickly lost his shutout bid in the sixth. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff triple and scored on Luis Castillo’s RBI single. David Wright doubled and Carlos Beltran’s two-RBI single up the middle made it 4-3 and chased Eaton.
That would be all the runs for the Mets, while the Phillies had one more clutch swing left in them.
“We felt the momentum change and we put up some runs to tie it, but it just wasn’t in the cards,” Church said.
Utley carried the offensive load and his homers seemed as if they might be enough to carry the Phillies.
He hit a two-out, solo shot in the first off Mike Pelfrey, making him the first Phillie to homer in four straight games since Howard did it at the end of last season.
Pelfrey, who gave up 10 hits and four runs in five innings, threw almost nothing but fastballs. With two on and none out in the fifth, Utley sat on a heater and rocked one off the foul pole net in right. His major league-leading eighth homer of the season made it 4-0, and Utley popped out of the dugout for a quick wave.
The Phillies offense is sputtering without Rollins, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list nearly two weeks after he sprained his left ankle. Rollins hurt his ankle April 8 and had only four pinch-hit appearances and no starts over that span.
First baseman Ryan Howard (.186) is badly slumping and the Phillies have gotten puny numbers from Bruntlett, who was vociferously booed when he grounded into a double play in the second.
That all changed with one sharp defensive play in the ninth that helped save the game.
Richard Ashburn threw out the first pitch in honor of his late father, Phillies Hall of Famer and broadcaster Richie Ashburn. The Phillies celebrated the 60th anniversary of Ashburn’s major league debut. … The Phillies observed a moment of silence for former major leaguer and Philly native John Marzano. Marzano died Saturday after falling down a flight of stairs at his home. He was 45. His funeral is Friday morning. … The crowd cheered when the score of the 76ers’ Game 1 win over Detroit was shown on the scoreboard. … Utley had his 15th career multi-homer game. … The series drew 135,478, the largest for a three-game series in the five-year history of the ballpark. … On April 9, Bruntlett started in place of Rollins for the first time this season and booted two grounders in a six-run third in a loss to the Mets.