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Phillies 5, Mets 1

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard's pinch-hit two-run double in the seventh inning snapped a tie Sunday afternoon and lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-1 win over the New York Mets and a sweep of the three-game series at Citi Field.

Nine players had one hit apiece for the Phillies (12-14), who completed their first series sweep since a three-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field last Sept. 17-20.

An error by Mets catcher John Buck with two outs and nobody on extended the seventh inning before Howard's double -- his 11th extra-base hit in just 38 pinch-hit at-bats -- made a winner out of Cole Hamels, who notched his first victory of the season despite tying a career high with six walks in six innings.

Hamels, who also walked six against the Braves last July 27, allowed one run on two hits and struck out eight.

The three-run seventh inning marked the third time in as many games that the Phillies turned a close game into a rout with a multi-run frame. Philadelphia scored all four of its runs in the sixth inning of a 4-0 win Friday night and scored five runs in the fifth inning of a 9-4 win Saturday.

The Mets (10-13) lost for the fourth time in a row and finished 3-6 on the homestand. They scored four runs or less in six of the final seven games -- and won the other game, 7-3, on a walk-off grand slam Wednesday night by Jordany Valdespin.

The two teams were tied 1-1 heading into the seventh, when losing pitcher Jonathon Niese retired the first two batters and got pinch-hitter Laynce Nix to pop up in front of the Phillies' dugout. But Buck appeared to take his eye off the ball as David Wright approached and the ball glanced off his glove for the Mets' third error of the afternoon.

Unlike the first two errors -- both of which happened in the first inning -- this miscue haunted the Mets. Nix and Jimmy Rollins singled to chase Niese.

Howard, who had the day off against the left-hander Niese, pinch-hit for Kevin Frandsen and welcomed Scott Atchison by crushing a 2-0 pitch off the middle of the wall in centerfield, more than 400 feet from home plate, to score Nix and Rollins.

Howard came home on Chase Utley's single. The Phillies added an insurance run in the eighth, when Domonic Brown singled and scored on John Mayberry's RBI double.

The RBI double capped a productive weekend for Howard, who hit a three-run homer to cap the sixth inning Friday and had two long fly outs, including a sacrifice fly, on Saturday.

Freddy Galvis hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Phillies' first run.

Niese allowed three runs, one earned, on five hits and one walk while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.

Ruben Tejada had two doubles and scored the Mets' lone run on Wright's first-inning RBI single. The Mets left the bases loaded in the third, when Hamels walked three batters before striking out Niese.

NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins said reliever Frank Francisco, who is in the midst of a rehab assignment at Single-A St. Lucie, is doing " .. OK -- not great, OK." Francisco had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow last September but was sidelined during spring training with inflammation in the elbow. He has not appeared in a game for St. Lucie since April 20 but threw 25 pitches on Saturday. Collins said Francisco will need to be able to throw on consecutive days before the Mets consider bringing him back to the majors. ... Wright's 77-game errorless streak came to an end when he bobbled Chase Utley's grounder in the first inning Sunday. Wright's errorless streak was the longest by a third baseman in team history, breaking the previous mark of 54 set by Lenny Randle in 1978. ... Mets pitcher Dillon Gee turned 27 on Sunday. ... Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz returned from a 25-game suspension for using a banned amphetamine and went 1-for-4. The Phillies made room for Ruiz on the 25-man roster by designating for assignment catcher Humberto Quintero, who started seven of the 25 games Ruiz missed and hit .250 with two RBI. ... Outfielder Ben Revere missed his fourth straight game for the Phillies with a sore left quad. ... The Phillies' off-day Monday is their second and last in a 37-day span from April 5 through May 12. Philadelphia visits Cleveland for a two-game series starting Tuesday.
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