Pelfrey and the Mets bullpen pulled off a most extraordinary pitching feat in this big-hitting era, shutting out Philadelphia for the third straight game Thursday night and handing the flailing Phillies a 3-0 loss.
“Luckily, we were able to keep it going,” Pelfrey said.
Pelfrey (7-1) and a pair of relievers held the Phillies to four singles while winning their fifth consecutive game. The big right-hander followed top efforts by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey(notes) and Japanese newcomer Hisanori Takahashi(notes) as the Mets threw back-to-back-to-back blankings for the first time since 1988.
“I think your job is to put up zeros,” Pelfrey said. “I thought I was OK.”
In today’s times when sluggers rule, it was even more amazing. Not since 2004 had any team shut out another club in a three-game series—Johan Santana(notes) and Minnesota blanked Kansas City in that set, STATS LLC said.
Santana will try to keep the streak going Friday night when he starts for the Mets at Milwaukee.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s 1-0 or 10-0 or 10-9,” he said. “As long as you win, that’s what matters.”
Jose Reyes, fresh from giving batting tips to the newly crowned Miss USA, was pretty at the plate. He singled and scored in the first, singled the next time up and delivered a two-run double in the seventh that finished Cole Hamels(notes) (5-3).
After a rain delay of nearly two hours at the start, Pelfrey quickly found his rhythm. He allowed three hits in seven innings, working around five walks while striking out five.
Pelfrey relied on his sinker all evening, with great success. The Phillies either swung over the pitch or worse for them, beat the ball into the dirt to wreck any chances to rally.
Placido Polanco(notes), Jayson Werth(notes) and Wilson Valdez(notes) grounded into double plays to end the third, fourth and fifth innings. The Phils put runners at the corners with two outs in the sixth and, with the Mets bullpen heating up, Howard bounced right into New York’s overshifted infield.
“You know it’s not going to be like that all year. We’re going to bounce back eventually,” said Polanco, whose double play came with runners on first and third.
Pelfrey made up for his only loss this year, a 10-0 defeat in Philly earlier this month.
“Big picture, a loss is a loss, no matter how you spin it. We’re still in first place,” Werth said.
Most everyone on the Mets made a nice play in the field. Immediately after backup catcher Henry Blanco(notes) threw out Raul Ibanez(notes) trying to steal, center fielder Angel Pagan(notes) made a diving catch on Carlos Ruiz’s(notes) liner to finish the seventh.
Reyes posed with the beauty queen during batting practice, then the leadoff man opened with an infield hit and came home on Jason Bay’s(notes) double. An error by Polanco at third base set up Reyes’ double into the left-field corner in the seventh.
The Mets posted their first three-game sweep over the Phillies since 2006, and their first at home against the Phils since 1997. Philadelphia totaled 20 hits in this set.
Only once before had the Mets shut out the same team in three straight games. That came in September 1969 when they did it at Philadelphia—the Mets pitched 10 shutouts that month, in fact, and went on to win the World Series.
After Wednesday night’s loss, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel held a closed-door meeting. No luck in breaking the spell, though.
“If I could fix it, we’d never lose,” Manuel said.
NOTES: Mets CF Carlos Beltran(notes) (knee) probably won’t rejoin the Mets until at least the All-Star break, general manager Omar Minaya indicated. … Blanco started in place of Rod Barajas(notes), who had a sore right wrist. … Rima Fakih won the Miss USA pageant earlier this month. She came to the game wearing her sash and a Mets jersey and compared right-handed swings with Reyes. She was born in Lebanon and represented Michigan, but went to high school near Citi Field. She saw her first game at Shea Stadium in 1994. “I’m a big NFL fan,” she said, “but I’ve always been a Mets fan.”