Reyes, Wagner help Mets rebound to beat Phils

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NEW YORK (AP)—For the second consecutive night, the New York Mets built a three-run lead going into the ninth inning against Philadelphia.

This time, they had Billy Wagner ready to close it out—and that made all the difference.

“He makes it easy,” Jose Reyes said.

Reyes’ three-run homer snapped a sixth-inning tie and the Mets, with Wagner back from a sore shoulder, rebounded from a demoralizing defeat by beating the Phillies 6-3 on Wednesday.

John Maine pitched seven effective innings and New York took advantage of a wild Brett Myers in his return from the minors to again tie the Phillies for first place in the NL East.

“We’ll be there,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “They have a good team, we have a good team.”

New York had a great chance to take sole possession of the division lead in the series opener Tuesday night, but its makeshift bullpen—missing an ailing Wagner—blew a 5-2 lead for Johan Santana in the ninth inning of an 8-6 loss.

Wagner declared himself available Wednesday after testing his left shoulder before the game by playing long toss from about 250 feet and throwing off a bullpen mound.

The All-Star entered in the ninth and got three quick outs for his 25th save in 31 chances, securing New York’s eighth victory in nine home games.

“Of course you feel it, but I was able to stick with it,” Wagner said. “If I can compete, I’ll be out there.

“The training crew, they deserve a lot of this credit,” he added. “They were fantastic. They deserve a lot of the credit just to get me out there.”

The series finale is Thursday, with Jamie Moyer pitching for the Phillies against Oliver Perez.

With the score tied 3-all, Damion Easley opened the sixth with the second of his three infield singles before Brian Schneider also singled against Ryan Madson (2-1).

Maine struck out trying to bunt, but Reyes drove Madson’s next pitch to right for his 11th homer. He raised his right index finger high as he trotted from first to second.

“I was excited there,” Reyes said. “I have to enjoy it because that’s big there.”

Maine (9-7) gave up consecutive homers to Shane Victorino and Geoff Jenkins in the second, but kept Philadelphia in check most of the way. Jimmy Rollins tied it at 3 with an RBI double in the fifth.

“I just needed a good game,” Maine said. “I wasn’t worried about walking guys.”

The right-hander pitched only 19 innings over his previous four starts, going 0-2. He yielded six hits Wednesday, striking out five and walking two.

“He attacked the strike zone a lot better,” Manuel said. “That’s huge for him.”

Scott Schoeneweis and Joe Smith combined for a scoreless eighth.

Hoping to find his form, Myers made four starts in the minors before returning to the rotation Wednesday for his first major league outing since June 27. He entered 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA and said recently he realized he needs to use his fastball more and pitch more aggressively.

Still, the 27-year-old right-hander struggled with his command all game. He walked four straight batters in the first inning as frustrated Phillies manager Charlie Manuel watched helplessly, chomping on his gum while leaning over the dugout railing.

Marlon Anderson made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout.

“I felt if the first inning didn’t go that way we would’ve won the game and I probably would have pitched nine innings, the way I felt tonight,” Myers said. “I was excited to get out there. I had some fun out there.”

Maine coughed up the lead right away, serving up the homers to Victorino and Jenkins in the second. Victorino connected Tuesday off Santana.

Myers loaded the bases in the third on a walk, a hit batter and Carlos Beltran’s single. Easley’s run-scoring infield single with two outs put New York ahead 3-2.

“I felt like his stuff was good,” Charlie Manuel said, referring to Myers. “I think he was amped. He definitely wanted to do good. He didn’t want to come out of the game. He had some fight to him. … I think right now we need more looks at him.”

Notes

Pedro Martinez left Shea Stadium in the seventh inning after learning his father died in the Dominican Republic, and the Mets right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start Friday night against St. Louis. RHP Mike Pelfrey will move up a day to pitch on regular rest in Martinez’s place, and New York is undecided about a starter for Saturday. Martinez hasn’t pitched since leaving his July 12 start with a sore shoulder and tightness in his groin. … Jerry Manuel moved streaking Carlos Delgado up to the cleanup spot and dropped Beltran to fifth. It was the first time Beltran batted fifth since June 15, 2003, with Kansas City. … Myers is 0-6 with a 7.91 ERA in 10 starts on the road this year.

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