Monday, May 3, 2010

Phillies regain the upper hand on Mets


Fathead New York Mets Logo Wall DecalPhillies regain the upper hand on Mets

Nine ten runs later, including one on a bases-loaded walk to a 47-year-old pitcher, the Philadelphia Phillies were on their way to taking back first place in the NL East.

The Phillies unloaded all of their firepower on left-hander Johan Santana, concentrating most of it in the bottom of the fourth, which propelled them to a resounding 11-5 victory Sunday night.

Behind Santana, plus home runs by David Wright Rod Barajas, the Mets were cruising with a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth. The Phillies scratched across a two-out run, but really got going after Jamie Moyer coaxed a walk against Santana to force in another run.

Shane Victorino followed with a grand slam and an 8-5 Phillies lead. For the Phillies, the combination of a pitcher walking and Victorino following with a grand slam was a reminder of a similar combination of events happening in the 2008 NLDS against CC Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Sometimes, you love being in that situation," Victorino said. "I guess you can say it was Déja vu," Victorino said. "I didn't think about it going up there."

It's hard to that prove one game — let alone one inning or a single at-bat — can shape the course of an entire season for two teams. But let's see where the Mets and Phillies go from this point. This could be where it all turned.

The Mets were steaming along, one of MLB's bigger surprises, having won eight in a row to close out April — including the opener of the three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies took the middle game, but the Mets appeared to be in good shape to start a new streak with a lead and Santana on the mound.

"Just a rough night," Santana said. "I tried to command my fastball, but it was all over the place. It was one of those days where whatever I did, didn't work out."

Santana allowed a career-worst 10 runs — including four home runs — over 3 2/3 innings. Ball four to Moyer might have been more disturbing than any other pitch.

Moyer didn't pitch particularly well before the big inning, but the Mets only managed one baserunner — a Jason Bay walk against a reliever in the eighth — afterward.

Moyer also picked up his the 261st victory in his career, which began before TV. He also drew his 33rd career walk in 462 career plate appearances. A much better ratio than Shawon Dunston and Ozzie Guillen, I'll bet, without even looking.

One at-bat changed the course of the inning, which changed the course of the game. How far might the outcome shape the seasons of the Phillies and Mets?
New York Mets program yearbook 19921971 New York Mets Official Yearbook Amazin' Avenue Annual 2010: The premier fan guide to the 2010 New York Mets, featuring in-depth player profiles, prospect reports, team commentary & statistical analysis.

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