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Surprise call pays off for Tovar, Mets

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Wilfredo Tovar thought his baseball season was finished before he got the call to join the Mets, and Sunday he broke into the major leagues in a big way.

Tovar's first big-league hit lifted the New York Mets to a 4-3 victory and a three-game sweep over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Excited about the opportunity," Tovar said through an interpreter. "I was not expecting (this), just being home (in Venezuela) and then all of a sudden getting the call-up. ... I'm just trying to make the most out of it."

Tovar's single off Cliff Lee plated two runs in the seventh inning to give the Mets a one-run lead. Juan Lagares, with an infield single and Anthony Recker's double set up the go-ahead scores.

"I basically took his first at-bat, (Lee) was pitching him inside, and then the second at-bat I was basically pitching him the same way," Tovar said. "And then that third at-bat I was looking for something in and was fortunate that I got it and drove in that run."

Lagares provided the Mets an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI double.

In six innings, Carlos Torres (4-5) gave up two runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking three to earn the win.

LaTroy Hawkins picked up career save No. 100 with a scoreless ninth.

"I think the most excited they were was for LaTroy Hawkins; 100 saves in his career, big milestone," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The guy's on his way to 1,000 appearances. Hopefully he pitches next year. Those are some huge milestones."

Hawkins admitted he was surprised he reached the milestone this season and added he intends to pitch next year. He will be 41 on Opening Day.

"I came into this (year) and didn't think I had a chance to get it, but baseball's a crazy game," Hawkins said. "The guys always give me crap about my age, just making fun at it, but I think just deep down inside they hope they can be playing the game at 40 and I hope some of them are (too)."

In the eighth, Cody Asche struck out with the tying run on third base after the Phillies pulled within one run when Carlos Ruiz tagged up and scored from third on a foul-ball pop fly.

The loss was the first for Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg as permanent manager. The club removed his interim tag earlier in the day. Philadelphia is 18-17 since Sandberg took over for Charlie Manuel.

"It was a really good atmosphere for the last (home) game. It says a lot about the fans," Sandberg said. "A good crowd and they stayed until the end."

Lee (14-7) gave up three runs, two of which were earned, over seven walk-free innings. He struck out eight.

"An infield single, then an 0-2 pitch to the eight-hole hitter that was down and in. I made a good pitch so I have to tip my hat," Lee said. "He hit the pitch I was trying to make."

In the second, Kevin Frandsen plated Domonic Brown for the Phillies' first run with a double to center field.

Philadelphia went ahead in the sixth on an RBI single from Brown to score Jimmy Rollins, who led off with a double. The Phillies could have scored more after loading the bases with one out, but Asche struck out and Frandsen flew out to end the inning.

"Offensively it was the same for the whole weekend. Missed opportunities with men on base," Sandberg said.

NOTES: For the seventh consecutive season, the Phillies surpassed the 3-millon mark in attendance, with a final turnstile report of 3,012,403. Sunday's attendance of 44,398 marked the sixth sellout of the year for Philadelphia. ... Mets 3B David Wright was not in the starting lineup Sunday, getting a scheduled day off. Wright, who came off the disabled list Friday, played in the first two games of the series. ... New York won the season series between the two clubs, 10-9. ... The Phillies finished the season with a home record of 43-38. They were 40-41 at Citizens Bank Park a year ago. ... New York resumes its road trip Monday in Cincinnati, where Aaron Harang (5-12, 5.69) will face the Reds. ... Roy Halladay (4-4, 6.71) will start for Philadelphia on Monday in Miami against the Marlins.
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