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Phillies 3, Mets 1

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- R.A. Dickey lost a chance to move closer to the 20-win mark while the Philadelphia Phillies capitalized on an opportunity to inch closer to the second wild card spot.

Domonic Brown and Jimmy Rollins homered, and Rollins scored another run after reaching on a passed ball after a strikeout as the Phillies topped the Mets 3-1 on Monday night.

The victory was the Phillies 10th in their last 14 games and moved them within 3 1/2 games of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot. It also followed a lost series at Houston, where the Phillies dropped three of four.

Former Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee (6-7) continued to heat up down the stretch and might have damaged Dickey's Cy Young hopes.

Dickey entered the night leading the NL in ERA at 2.68 and actually lowered it to 2.67, after allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in seven innings. Dickey (18-6) struck out eight and only walked two, making few mistakes other than the homers, but remained behind Gio Gonzalez (19-8) for the league lead in wins.

Lee allowed just one run on seven hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking just one. Lee, who was winless this season until beating the Mets on July 4, has won his last four decisions, allowing four earned runs in 35 1/3 innings in that span.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save of the year.

The Mets lost their ninth game in their last 10. New York also dropped its seventh straight at Citi Field, where it has won only four times since the All-Star break. Two NL East rivals, the Nationals and Braves, have won more games there since the break.

With the Phillies up 2-1 in the seventh, Brown, who earlier tripled, hit his fourth homer of the season to put the Phillies up 3-1.

For Dickey, time is running out on his shot at 20 wins as he has three regularly scheduled starts remaining. His Cy Young candidacy could come down to how much value the voters place on wins vs. other stats.

Gonzalez (19-8) lost Sunday, but has allowed just three earned runs in his last 27 innings, winning three of four. Johnny Cueto (17-9) has tumbled down the stretch, coughing up 14 runs in his last 15 1/3 innings and losing his last three starts.

Lee shut the Mets out for the first four innings. But, down 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Mets cut the lead in half. Mike Nickeas led off with a bunt single and Dickey sacrificed him to second before Daniel Murphy eventually drove him in with a two-out single.

Rollins gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the fifth with a one-out homer to right. The ball went just over the glove of a leaping Scott Hairston and over the orange line, hitting off the black before bouncing back onto the field. Initially called a triple, the umps changed the call to home run after a replay review.

Dickey's knuckler was darting in the first inning, but it got past Nickeas for a passed ball on a strikeout of Rollins to put the leadoff hitter aboard. Dickey then made an errant pickoff throw, allowing Rollins to take third and he scored on Chase Utley's sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

NOTES: The Mets agreed to a two-year deal to make the Las Vegas 51s their Class AAA minor league affiliate, the organization announced Monday. The partnership will provide a bigger challenge for the Mets due to travel logistics and a tougher barometer to evaluate players as the city's dry climate and high altitude have been known to affect game conditions. The Mets were left with few options, though, as its former Class AAA affiliate, Buffalo, decided to part ways with the organization. ... Mets manager Terry Collins initially had planned to start Kelly Shoppach at catcher against Lee, but with knuckleballer Dickey competing for the NL Cy Young award, Shoppach told Collins it might be better to have Dickey throw to a more familiar batterymate. Mike Nickeas started instead. ... Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was in the lineup Monday, marking the first time he'd started two straight games since returning from the DL on Sept. 7.
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