Halladay pitched six dominant innings, Pence homered early and
the NL East champions snapped their eight-game losing streak,
routing the New York Mets 9-4 Sunday.
Playing their regular lineup for the first time since clinching
their fifth straight division title, the Phillies posted their
major league-leading 99th victory. Center fielder Shane Victorino
closed it out with a nifty running grab for the final out.
"It's a matter of getting everybody out there and getting the
rhythm of the lineup," star slugger Ryan Howard said. "Everybody
kind of exploded today."
"Hopefully, we can keep it together through October," he said.
Pence homered during a three-run first inning, each starter had
a hit by the third and Carlos Ruiz's single made it 9-0 in the
That was plenty for Halladay (19-6). He tuned up for his
expected start in Game 1 of the NL playoffs Saturday by throwing
six scoreless innings of four-hit ball. Last year's unanimous Cy
Young Award winner finished this regular season with a career-best
Halladay won his eighth straight start against the Mets and
closed his outing by fanning Nick Evans with the bases loaded. It
was Halladay's third strikeout of the game -- that was his 220th of
the year, one more than his previous high.
"I didn't want it to feel like a spring training start. Everything was where I wanted it to be," Halladay said.
Phillies rookie Vance Worley gave up one run in 1 2/3 innings
during his first relief appearance since leaving the rotation. He
is 11-3 but with Philadelphia boasting four aces, he'll work out of
the bullpen in October.
The Phillies' skid was their longest since 2000, and the worst
by any big league team after wrapping up first place since the
World Series began in 1903, STATS LLC said.
"I think we're still a confident group, it didn't just disappear," Halladay said.
Frustrated by all the losses, manager Charlie Manuel put all his
regulars on the field and also tinkered with the lineup, moving
Chase Utley into the second slot. And after scoring a total of only
16 runs during the slide, the Phillies responded with 19 hits.
"I think you see the difference. When you get all of our guys
in there, we've got a pretty good lineup," Manuel said. "When you
have two or three of them missing, we become a different team."
Ruiz went 4-for-4 with a walk. His two-run hit in the fourth
drew a mixed response from the crowd, with Phillies fans cheering
his "Chooch" nickname and Mets fans simply booing.
Pence also tripled, singled and walked. He made a costly error
Saturday night in his first start since missing three games because
of a strained knee.
Manuel quickly began pulling his All-Stars. Howard came out for
a pinch-runner in the fourth to rest a sore foot and Jimmy Rollins
left following the sixth. The romp sent the Phillies to Atlanta for
a season-ending three-game series against the NL wild-card leaders.
Phillies pitcher Justin DeFratus apparently got dressed for the
road trip a bit early. He wore a pink feather boa on the walk from
the dugout to the bullpen before the game, surely a bit of rookie
Mike Pelfrey (7-13) was battered from the outset. He was done
after three innings, leaving him with only one win in his last 12
starts of the season.
"I wanted to finish strong and obviously (I) didn't -- furthest
thing from it," he said. "You take a full month off, you bust the
offseason and you come back ready to go."
With their 83rd loss, the Mets matched last year's total.
The Mets had won three in a row, but Pence's 21st home run on
Pelfrey's 10th pitch put them behind for good. Ronny Paulino hit a
two-run homer in the seventh off Phillies reliever Antonio
Mets fans, however, did get a good laugh when third baseman
Justin Turner tripped and fell face-first over the mound chasing a
popup. Later, they loudly cheered a New York score -- by the Giants,
that is, when highlights of their NFL game against the Eagles were
shown on the video board.
The Phillies open a three-game series at Atlanta on
Monday night. Cliff Lee (16-8, 2.38 ERA) starts for Philadelphia
against Randall Delgado (1-1, 2.70). ... The Mets host Cincinnati
starting Monday night. Chris Schwinden (0-2, 5.06) starts for New
York vs. Homer Bailey (9-7, 4.32). ... Mets SS Jose Reyes went 2
for 4, raising his average to .331. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun leads
the NL at .333. ... Mets RF Mike Baxter made a fine catch while
sliding into foul ground. ... Mets 1B coach Mookie Wilson has left
the team for the rest of the season after the death of his sister.
Wally Backman coached in his place, wearing No. 86 - he was part of
the Mets' championship team in 1986.