Blogging Baseball: All-time baseball highlights and real-time commentary

Archive for July, 2008

Phillies Beat Nationals Again, Win Streak at 4, Back in 1st

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

   Shanbe Victorino    Jamie Moyer     Chase Utley

Trailing 2-0, Nationals’ lead-off leftfielder Willie Harris deposited 45 year old southpaw Jamie Moyer’s 1st pitch of the game way over the out-of-town scoreboard in right centerfield and, four hitters and a runner on 2nd later, catcher Jesus Flores’ 2 run shot gave the Nationals the lead. Moyer then gave up a double but nothing else until the fifth and, meanwhile, the  Phillies pounded Tim Redding for 5 runs in the fith inning on the way to an  8-5 win in Wednesday’s game 2.

The Phillies jumped back into 1st place in the NL East, 1/2 game as Mets lost their get-away game to the Florida Marlins who took 2 of 3 in their series.  The Marlins are 1 1/2 games back in 3rd place. The 4th place  Braves dropped to 9 games back by losing again on Wednesday to the St. Louis Cardinals.

AP sports writer Howard Fendwich noted the comments of both managers about Moyer’s performance for Yahoo sports;

“Tough first inning—he got out of it. He settled down,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “It was real hot tonight. He was definitely getting gassed. He was tired at the end.”

But Moyer did exactly what was needed to fool the Nationals after the first inning.

“I know it’s a matter of making adjustments and keeping on course and keeping damage to a minimum and go from there,” Moyer said.

Here’s how Nationals manager Manny Acta described Moyer’s effectiveness: “Location, location, location—like real estate, that’s what pitching’s all about.”

The Phils loaded the bases on Redding with one out in the first inning and leftfielder Pat Burrell singled to left driving in a pair to give the Fightins’ an early 2-0 lead.  But the lead was shortlived as the Nationals hammered Moyer for 2 doubles and 2 homers in their half of the inning.

Both pitchers settled down in the second through fourth innings before Redding was chased in the fifth, not recording an out as 5 Phillies runs crossed capped by 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s 2 run homer, his 2nd dinger in 2 games after a long drought. 

AP’s Fendwich recounts the fifth inning;

It began with No. 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz’s single, and then Redding walked Moyer.

“That’s completely inexcusable,” Redding said. “It’s tough enough pitching to these guys—especially these guys, with the lineup they have—with nobody on. You put people on, all of a sudden you’re dancing with danger.”

Jimmy Rollins followed with an RBI double—which might have been a triple if Moyer hadn’t been ahead of him on the base paths—and  [Shane] Victorino delivered a two-run single. Next came Utley’s homer and that was it for Redding, who gave up seven runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings. 

The ‘Flyin’ Hawaiian’ centerfielder led the Phillies with 3 hits in 5 at bats, including a lead-off seventh inning homer off of reliever Steven Shell, and 3 RBIs.

The Nationals rallied for 2 seventh inning runs off of reliever Ryan Madson before Chad Durbin silenced them in the eighth and Brad Lidge put the lights out in the ninth for his 26th save in 26 opportunities.

With the win, Moyer became the 1st Phillie pitcher to reach the 10 win plateau trowing 94 pitches through 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 5.  Losing pitcher Redding threw 73 pitches in 4 inning, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Wednesday’s games, click here.

The Phillies try for a sweep as Thursday’s final pits young Kyle Kendrick against 2nd year lefthander John Lannan.

The Phillies begin August with 3 games against the St. Louis Cardinals before another day off on Monday, August 4, before returning home for 3 games against the Florida Marlins followed by 3 games vs the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Thursday’s games, click here.

Myers, Utley Lead Phillies Past Nationals

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

          Chase Utley       Brett Myers

Phillies starter Brett Myers had velocity and fine placement on his fastball, consistently got ahead early in the counts by throwing strikes and stayed ahead forcing 10 groundballs.  2nd baseman Chase Utley’s 2 out, 2 run homer in the third inning off of Nationals’ rookie Collin Balester provided all the offense that the Phils needed to edge Washington by a 2-1 score.

The Phillies remained in 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the NL East leading  Mets who won on Tuesday after losing on Monday to the Florida Marlins.  The Marlins are 2 games behind in 3rd place. The 4th place Braves dropped to 8 1/2 games behind with their loss Tuesday to the St. Louis Cardinals.

After Balester retired Myers on a ground ball to 2nd base to lead off the third inning, shortstop Jimmy Rollins singled to left centerfield.  After centerfielder Shane Victorino flied out, Utley drove a 1-0 pitch from Balester out to rightfield for his 26th homer, his first since July 7, a 14-game, 58-at-bat homerless string.

Myers and the Phillies bullpen handled the rest.  Myers finished seven shutout innings to socre his 4th win of the season, and was only scored upon in the eighth as a result of a single and Utley’s error on a fielder’s choice play.  After Myers left for reliever J.C. Romero, a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd followed by a run scoring on a ground out.  Chad Durbin replaced Romero to retire the side on another ground out.   Myers threw  88 pitches, 63 for strikes giving up 1 run on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 2.  Closer Brad Lidge topssed a clean ninth inning and got credit for his 25th save in 25 attempts.

AP sports writer Howard Fendwich provides reactions and impressions of Myers’ performance for Yahoo sports;

It was his second start since being demoted to the minors to try to revive his confidence and shake a season-long funk.

And his first win since May 30, only his second win in 15 outings.

“Brett pitched outstanding,” Utley said. “He was throwing strikes early in the count and getting ahead of guys.”

“Tonight,” Myers said, “was fun for me.”

Rollins and Utley were the only runners to pass 2nd base against Balester and the Nationals bullpen.  Leftfielder Pat Burrell singled in the second inning and then reached 2nd on a flubbed fielder’s choice play by 2nd baseman Ronnie Belliard.

As good as Myers was, losing pitcher Balester was nearly as good, only being scored upon on Utley’s 2 run homer.  Balester went six innings throwing 93 and allowing only 6 hits while striking out 5 and issuing no walks.  The Nationals bullpen held the Phillies to two harmless 2 out singles over the last three innings.

Recently, there have been reports that Chase Utley has been trying to work through hip problems.   AP’s Fendwich reports;

Before the game, Manuel was asked if he thought Utley looked healthy. Maybe Utley’s hip was bothering him? Maybe some other ailment?

Nope, Manuel assured everyone. Sometimes the homers don’t come. And sometimes they do.

A few hours later, Utley provided an important one for the Phillies, who remained a half-game behind the Mets in the NL East.

“I never really felt that bad. Obviously when you don’t get results, it’s frustrating, but you have to stick with it,” said Utley, who pronounced himself healthy.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Monday’s and Tuesday’s games, click here and here.

Wednesday’s game 2 features veteran 45 year old southpaw Jamie Moyer opposing Tim Redding.   Thursday’s final pits young Kyle Kendrick against 2nd year lefthander John Lannan.

The Phillies begin August with 3 games against the St. Louis Cardinals before another day off on Monday, August 4, before returning home for 3 games against the Florida Marlins followed by 3 games vs the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Wednesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Top Braves in Rain-Delayed Slugfest

Monday, July 28th, 2008

    Chris Coste   Pat Burrell   Shane Victorino

Sunday’s final was supposed to be a matchup between newly-acquired Joe Blanton and Atlanta’s 30 year old rookie Jorge Campillo.  But a near 2 hour rain delay left Jo-Jo Reyes facing Adam Eaton followed by a parade of relievers from both bullpens, 5 Phillies homers, 2 dingers by the Braves, 3 five run outbursts and the Phils on the long-end of a 12-10 score.

The Phillies remained in 2nd place, 1 game behind the NL East leading  Mets while the Florida Marlins dropped to 2 games behind losing to the NL Central Division leading Chicago Cubs. The 4th place Braves dropped to 7 1/2 games behind.

The Braves took an first inning 2-0 lead against starter Joe Blanton  on a 1 out RBI single to rightfield by catcher Brian McCann followed by an RBI double to left centerfield by centerfielder Mark Kotsay.  The Phils tried to narrow the lead in the bottom of the first as 2nd baseman Chase Utley got the Phils’ 1st hit, a 2 out single to rightfield.  1st baseman Ryan Howard followed with a single to right centerfield with Utley being nailed at home on a close play, to end the inning, after trying to score from 1st base.  Howard would have 2 hits and 2 RBIs in the game as the first 5 hitters in the Phillies order would account for 9 hits and 8 RBIs for the game. 
After Blanton quickly went clean in the second inning and the first 2 Phils wentout in their half, the rains came. The game was 1 hour, 57 minute rain delay, afterwhich the Phils found themselves facing Jo-Jo Reyes who loaded the bases on 2 walks with a single in between before fanning shortstop
Jimmy Rollins to end the threat.

But it seemed like the Braves were the best medicine which the Phils could have received to remedy their tailspin.  With Sunday’s win, the Phils are 10-2 against the Braves in their seasonal series.  Play-by-play on Sunday’s game can be found here.

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi describes the game and gives background for Yahoo sports;

Pat Burrell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the fifth inning…

Chris Coste, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins also went deep for the Phillies, who overcame a 5-0 deficit a day after coming back from a 9-3 hole.

Since June 5, the Phillies are 8-1 against the Braves and 12-22 against everyone else.

“We play well against them, that’s for sure,” Werth said. “I can’t put a finger on it.”

Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann left with a mild concussion after a collision with Victorino in the sixth inning. X-rays were negative and McCann will be re-evaluated Monday.

“I have a headache right now, but I’ll be OK,” McCann said. “I’m not too worried. I’ll probably be out a couple days.”

Kelly Johnson and Omar Infante hit consecutive homers in the fourth inning for Atlanta. The Braves scored five times off Rudy Seanez and Ryan Madson in the eighth to make it close, and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth.

“We lose a five-run lead today, a six-run lead yesterday,” manager Bobby Cox said. “With leads like that, you think you ought to be able to win.”

Clay Condrey (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win, and Brad Lidge worked the ninth for his 24th save in as many chances.

Julian Tavarez (0-1) allowed the decisive homer to the first batter he faced [in the fifth].

Johnson ripped a two-run shot to right off Adam Eaton and Infante reached the seats in left to give the Braves a 5-0 lead in the fourth.

But the Phillies answered against Jo-Jo Reyes with two outs in the bottom half. Coste got the rally started with a two-run shot. After pinch-hitter So Taguchi reached on an infield single and Rollins walked, Victorino connected to tie it at 5.

Burrell put the Phillies ahead to stay in the fifth with his 26th homer—a drive into the left-field seats.

“We have a great offensive club,” Werth said. “We just haven’t been swinging well collectively.”

The Phillies tacked on five runs in the sixth. Victorino had an RBI single and Ryan Howard delivered a two-run single. On Howard’s hit to right field, Victorino jarred the ball loose when he ran over McCann.

McCann stayed down for a couple minutes, before walking off the field on his own.

“The only way I thought I can be safe was to jar the ball loose,” said Victorino, who spoke to McCann after the game. “I play the game hard. I hope he’s fine.”

Pinch-hitter Martin Prado’s bases-clearing double capped a five-run eighth and got the Braves within two.

Braves 3B Chipper Jones remained out of the lineup with a strained left hamstring. Jones, who leads the majors with a .369 batting average, could be headed for the disabled list.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Friday’s and Sunday’s games, click here.

The Phils have a day off on Monday before headed to Washington for a 3 game series with the Nationals beginning on Tuesday through Thursday.

Brett Myers, still looking to prove himself after his stint in the minors, opposes Nationals’ rookie Collin Balester in Tuesday night’s opener.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Monday’s and Tuesday’s games, click here and here.

Phillies: From Free-fall to Oblivion and Back vs Braves

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

                        Greg Dobbs

The Phillies offense, after free-falling nearly to oblivion and failing to provide an iota of support for young starter Kyle Kendrick as Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens took a 3 hit, 1-0 lead through eight innings, saw closer Brad Lidge pummelled in a 7 run ninth inning before scoring too little, too late to lose Friday’s opener by 8-2.  They took an early 3-0 lead in Saturday’s game 2 vs Braves lefthander Mike Hampton before ace Cole Hamels suffered his worst beating since August 24, 2006 in a 9 run Braves fourth inning.  The Phils rallied for 7 runs in the fifth inning, featuring Greg Dobbs’ 3 run pinch-homer, to narrowly win the game by a 10-9 score.

The Phillies remain tied for 2nd place with Florida Marlins, 1 game behind the NL East leading Mets.  The 4th place Braves dropped to 6 1/2 games behind.

The play-by-play on both games can be found here and here.

Kendrick deserved a much better fate than lose Friday’s game.  He made one mistake to Braves catcher Brian McCann,  who led off the fourth inning, and McCann didn’t miss on it sending it out to centerfield for a solo homer and a 1-0 Braves lead.  It was the only mistake that Kendrick made in six innings, although the Braves had runners reach in every inning against him.  He, as well as J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin kept the Phils in the game despite a comatose offense until the Braves went off in the ninth inniong on closer Brad Lidge for 5 runs and on Clay Condrey for 2 more to build the lead to 8-0.  Amidst the 7 run rally, McCann pounded a grand slam off of Lidge who had his worst game as a Phillie.  McCann’s shot was the first homer off of Lidge who had gone 42 innings without surrendering a dinger.

The Phils offense finally came to life in the bottom of the ninth as 2nd baseman Chase Utley punched a 2 out single to rightfield and 1st baseman Ryan Howard followed with a 2 run blast to left centerfield.  But it was too-little, too-late as leftfielder Pat Burrell flied out to rightfield to end the game.

Hamels, through the first three innings of Saturday’s game, looked primed for a repeat of his May 15th  5-0 complete game shutout, or at least like each of his previous 9 starts where he lasted at least seven innings.

The Phils, meanwhile scored 2 in the second inning, on catcher Chris Coste’s 1 out, 2 run single and 1 in the Utley’s sacrifice fly RBI to rightfield following centerfielder Shane Victorino’s lead-off triple to right centerfield against veteran lefthander Mike Hampton who had not pitched in 3 seasons due to assorted elbow surgeries.  Hampton was inserted as starter replacing the scheduled starter Jo-Jo Reyes, also a lefty. Coste went 3 for 4 for the game with 3 RBIs.

But Hamels was torpedoed by all barrels in the fourth inning as the Braves sent 12 men to the plate scoring 9 runs, capped by 1st baseman Mark Teixeira’s 2 out, 3 run shot to left centerfield which finally chased Hamels.   Rudy Seanez entered to finally register the final out of the inning.   Hamels left, having thrown 71 pitches and letting in all 9 Braves’ runs, only 4 of which were earned, while walking 3, striking out 2 and giving up Teixeira’s 3 run dinger.  Hamels didn’t help his cause with a crucial fielding error in the fourth inning.

Demoted former starter Adam Eaton entered to pitch the fifth and survived unscathed despite 2 Braves’ singles.  

The Phillies offense finally awakened to go to town on Hampton in the fifth.  AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi describes the inning and gives background on Dobbs’ pinch hitting for Yahoo sports; 

He [Hampton] left after Chase Utley’s single loaded the bases with none out in the fifth.

Ryan Howard greeted Royce Ring with a two-run single.  Blaine Boyer (2-6) came in to face Pat Burrell, who hit a sacrifice fly to cut it to 9-6. Coste’s two-out RBI single made it 9-7.

Dobbs followed with a drive into the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 10-9 lead. It was his 20th pinch hit this season, tying Doc Miller’s club record set in 1913.

“I was just trying to keep the inning going,” Dobbs said.

Dobbs credits former utilityman Dave Hansen for helping him become a successful pinch hitter. Dobbs spent parts of two seasons with Hansen in Seattle from 2004-05. Hansen had 138 career pinch hits in a 15-year career.

“I was fortunate to be around him and he taught me a lot of valuable things,” Dobbs said. “He was one of the best. He was kind enough to tutor me.”

Hampton left in the fifth, having thrown 91 pitches and letting in 6 runs on eight hits.  

But once recapturing the lead, the Phils offense went back into its shell despite the precarious lead.  The Braves bullpen allowed only 1 Phil to reach after the fifth, that on an eighth inning walk. 
Ryan Madson entered to pitch the sixth and finished unscarred despite walking the bases loaded.

Durbin came in to pitch the seventh and the Braves put runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs and again came away empty-handled.  He came out for the eighth by was replaced by Romero after a lead-off single.  Romero retired the next 3 Braves and handled the ball over to closer Lidge who barred the door on the Braves with a 3 up, 3 down ninth, was credited with his 23rd save.  Eaton, ironically, was credited with his 4th win vs 8 losses — his first win ever as a reliever.  Boyer was charged with the loss.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.

In Sunday’s final, newly acquired starter Joe Blanton, hoping to improve on his mediocre 6 inning, 5 run, 8 hit, 2 homer and 3 walk debut, is opposed by Atlanta’s 30 year old rookie Jorge Campillo.

The Phils have a day off on Monday before headed to Washington for a 3 game series with the Nationals beginning on Tuesday through Thursday.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Sunday’s games, click here.

The Infamous “Pine Tar Game”

Friday, July 25th, 2008

                George Brett       Goose Gossage

                              George Brett Bat

Nearly 2 years ago, I blogged about Detroit Tigers veteran 43 year lefthander Kenny Rogers and the discoloration on his left hand exhibited in the first inning the Tigers’ 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in game 2 of the 2006 World Series.

                      Kenny Rogers      Kenny Rogers

The Cards went on to win the series by 4 games to 1, Rogers never got a 2nd start and it was never really established whether or not Rogers had a foreign substance on his left hand in the game, i.e. pine tar.

But two Hall of Famers were involved in one of the most infamous episodes in Major League Baseball history — The ‘Pine Tar Incident.’

That incident was recalled by both Hall of Famers; Kansas City Royals 3rd baseman George Brett and Goose Gossage, then closer for the New York Yankees, on Thursday, July 24, the event’s 25th anniversary.

Baseball Library describes the scene in the ninth inning at Yankee stadium;

George Brett hits an apparent 2-run home run off Rich Gossage to give the Royals a 5-4 lead with 2 outs in the 9th inning‚ only to have it taken away when Yankees manager Billy Martin‚ at the urging of coach Don Zimmer‚ points out that the pine tar on Brett’s bat handle exceeds the 17 inches allowed in the rules. As a result‚ Brett is called out for illegally batting the ball‚ giving New York a 4-3 victory. Brett goes ballistic a the Royals immediately protest‚ and AL President Lee MacPhail overrules his umpires for the first time saying that‚ while the rules should certainly be rewritten and clarified‚ the home run will stand…

The game resumed from the point of Brett’s homer on August 18th as also described by Baseball Library;

In the continuation of the “Pine Tar Game‚” Hal McRae strikes out for the last KC out and Dan Quisenberry retires the Yankees in order in the bottom of the 9th to preserve the Royals’ 5-4 victory. The conclusion takes just 12 minutes (and 16 pitches)…’s Mychael Urban recounts a more personal side of the event;

It happened 25 years ago, but the Hall of Fame principals involved remember it like it was yesterday.

With his Royals down a run with two outs in the ninth inning, with the most feared closer in the game on the mound, Brett hit a two-run homer off Goose Gossage.

But that’s not what Brett’s boys want to watch over and over … and over again. They want to see their old man in the most passionate display of on-field snappage ever seen.

this … this was truly epic.

“He was the maddest human being I think I’ve ever seen,” Gossage says now. “Maddest baseball player I’ve ever seen, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone madder than George Brett at that moment in time.”

You’ve seen it on ballpark blooper reels and countless television shows counting down the biggest sports meltdowns of all-time. If it’s not atop the list, it’s at least in the top three.

“In the top three?” Gossage asks incredulously. “I’d say it’s number one, two and three combined!”

After Brett returned to the Royals dugout, Yankees manager Billy Martin asked home-plate umpire Tim McClelland to inspect the bat with which Brett had goosed the Goose. McClelland obliged, found the pine tar to be excessively illegal under baseball’s rules, turned to the Royals dugout, pointed the bat at Brett and raised his fist.

That dramatic home run? Just another out. The game was over.

But the show had just begun. Brett bounced off the dugout bench as if shot from a cannon, a ball of bug-eyed fury aimed directly at McClelland.

Never mind that McClelland was 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, protected by all sorts of ump armor and holding a large wooden stick. Brett wanted a piece of the big man, and it took the spirited efforts of several players to keep their enraged teammate from trying to get at him.

“I have no idea what I’d have done if nobody stopped me, but it wouldn’t have been pretty,” Brett concedes.

So indelible are the images of the incident, it even has its own Wikipedia page, and rarely does a day go by that Brett or Gossage or both aren’t asked about it.

“If I’ve heard the words ‘pine tar’ once, I’ve heard them nine million times,” says Brett, a 1999 Hall of Fame inductee.

Gossage, who formally joins the game’s immortals in Cooperstown this Sunday, rolls his eyes and says, “I’d like to forget it, to be honest with you, but people won’t let me.”

Truth be told, many people have long forgotten why Gossage would prefer to put it to rest. The Royals appealed McClelland’s call, and it was eventually overturned. The game was resumed on Aug. 18, with the home run back on the board, and the 5-4 lead it gave the Royals held up as the winner.

While Brett was going ballistic, Gossage says, “I was out there laughing my head off. I thought it was hilarious.”

Alas, he adds, “George got the last laugh. He hit a game-winning homer and I got a blown save and a loss.”

True, Brett says, but the homer isn’t what most people remember. It’s the sight of the maniac in powder blue bolting onto the field.

Were it not for Hal McRae, Brett notes, the enduring memory of him might be the posterior problems he suffered during the 1980 playoffs.

McRae was on-deck when the Pine Tar Incident started to unfold and heard Martin yelling for the bat. If McRae had reacted quickly enough and tossed the bat into the Royals dugout, the whole thing might never have happened.

“I’m actually thankful to Hal for that,” Brett says with a chuckle. “Otherwise I’d be known as the guy with hemorrhoids.”

Brett retired 10 years after the Pine Tar Incident, Gossage a year after Brett. But they never spoke to each other about it during their playing days. In fact, they didn’t speak at all.

“I didn’t like Brett,” Gossage admits. “I didn’t like any hitters. I had tremendous respect for him, but I couldn’t stand George Brett back then.”

“I never said a word to Goose when we were playing,” Brett confirms. “I played with him in All-Star Games, played against him in All-Star Games, played against him in Yankee Stadium, and played against him when he was with other American League teams, but I never said a word to him.”

And now?

“I love him. Love him to death,” Gossage gushed. “Greatest hitter I ever faced in his prime when I was in my prime.”

And, apparently, an awfully good sport.

                            George Brett             

Delgado’s RBI Double Lifts Mets Past Phillies to 1st Place

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

For seven innings, lefties Jamie Moyer and Oliver Perez engaged in as fine a pitching duel as one would want to see.  But in the eighth, while the  Phillies enemic offense blew a bases loaded scoring opportunity, the Mets capitalized on their 2 on, 2 out situation as 1st baseman Carlos Delgado pounded a 2 run double off of lefthanded reliever J.C. Romero to win the series final by a 3-1 score.

With the win, the Mets climbed over the Phillies into 1st place by a full game in the NL East.   The 3rd place Florida Marlins, who are 1 1/2 games back, play an evening game with the Chicago Cubs* and 4th place Atlanta, 6 1/2 back has the day off.

Starting the game, Moyer retired 8 of the first 9 Mets he faced before  issuing a third inning 2 out walk to shortstop Jose Reyes.  Reyes stole 2nd base and Moyer walked leftfielder Nick Evans.  3rd baseman  David Wright put the Mets on the board with a leftfield double.  Moyer got Delgado on an infield grounder to 2nd base to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the Phillies got a hit in each of the 1st 3 innings, but Perez struck out 5 during the same span.  Perez went on to retire the next 9 of 10 Phillies through the sixth inning.

The veteran 45 year old Moyer, who threw 91 pitches only allowing 1 run on 2 hits while walking 3 and striking out 5, was not to be outdone retiring 12 of 13 Mets between the fourth and seventh innings

The Mets’ lead held up until rightfielder Jayson Werth opened the seventh by solving Perez with a solo homer to centerfield to tie the game.  Perez then retired the next 3 Phillies to end the inning.

Perez, who threw 108 pitches allowing only 1 run on 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 12 through 7 2/3 innings, suffered his first jam in the eighth inning. Shortstop Eric Bruntlett, subbing for Jimmy Rollins who was scratched from the lineup 15 minutes before game-time, slammed a 1 out double to leftfield.  Bruntlett, by the way, was 3 for 4 for the game and the most productive Phillie offensively beside Werth.  Leftfielder Pat Burrell, batting 3rd today, was intentionally walked and 1st baseman Ryan Howard was hit by a pitch to fill the bases.’s Todd Zolecki reports that Rollins was benched due to tardy arrival at the ballpark.

Met manager Jerry Manuel lifted Perez for reliever Aaron Heilman.  Rightfielder Werth, with a game-winning opportunity, slammed a solid drive to deep centerfield off of Heilman which Carlos Beltran snared for the final out of the eighth.

The Mets didn’t miss out on their chance in the eighth against lefthander Romero who replaced Moyer.  Pinch hitter Robinson Cancel opened with a single to leftfield.  Reyes sacrificed Cancel to 2nd base. With 2 outs, Wright was intentionally walked.  With 2 outs, Delgado doubled to left driving in 2 runs before getting nailed off of 2nd base on the play to retire the side. 

Closer Billy Wagner came on in the ninth inning to close the door on the Phils for the 2nd straight night on 8 pitches to earn his 25th save of the season.  Neither starter figured in the final decision as Heilman was credited with the win while Romero was charged with the loss.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Thursday’s games, click here.

*Update: 3rd place Florida fell to 2 games off the pace as the Chicago Cubs finally beat them after having previously dropped 10 in a row to the Marlins.

The Phillies leave New York for brief 3 game series at home against the Atlanta Braves before hitting the road again.

Kyle Kendrick hopes to break the Phils’ skid of the last two games in opening the Braves series on Friday opposing Jair Jurrjens who lost in his only other start against the Phils this season.  On Saturday, ace Cole Hamels is opposed by another lefthander, Jo-Jo Reyes who has had a dismal season, due mostly to lack of offensive support although he was pounded for 6 runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last start.

For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.