PHILADELPHIA _ Willie Randolph slipped into serious tone mode when asked about the mentality of his team.
A few hours before first pitch, the topic on Randolphâ€™s plate was the possibility of sweeping the Phillies and winning five straight against them. Randolph spoke of the importance of winning the division, and eventually addressed what everybody wanted to hear.
“Thereâ€™s nothing psychological about it,â€™â€™ Randolph said. “We know we can beat the Phillies.â€™â€™
And, the Phillies know they can beat the Mets, but who really beat Randolphâ€™s team, 5-4, last night?
Chase Utley drove in four runs on a pair of homers, but in the end the Mets lamented their lost opportunities.
“We had a golden opportunity to pick up three games on them,â€™â€™ David Wright said. “But, we let it slip through our fingers.â€™â€™
When a team loses by a single run, there are a lot of places to look.
“It was a good ball game,â€™â€™ Randolph said of the tenseness of the game and rivalry.
“But, we didnâ€™t execute the way we needed to.â€™â€™
Mike Pelfrey looked in the mirror and pointed a finger at a lousy pitch he threw to Utley for a three-run homer in the fifth.
“The first one was a sinker down and away and I got it a little up,â€™â€™ Pelfrey said. “I tip my cap to him on that one.â€™â€™
And the second?
“I was going inside and I left it out over the middle of the plate,â€™â€™ Pelfrey said. “Heâ€™s such a great hitter. You canâ€™t make mistakes with him.â€™â€™
The Mets sniffed sweep again when they came back with four in the sixth off Adam Eaton to tie the game, 4-4.
“In this ballpark, with this line-up, youâ€™re never out of the game,â€™â€™ Wright said. “Iâ€™m excited about the way we bounced back.â€™â€™
Jose Reyes, who hit a game-winning homer Saturday, tripled to lead off the inning and scored on Luis Castilloâ€™s single. Wright followed with a double to give one the feeling this one was going to the wire.
Carlos Beltran singled home two runs to chase Eaton in favor of Chad Durbin.
Beltran, who hasnâ€™t been able to run as much as heâ€™d like coming off knee surgery, stole second which put him in position to score on Ryan Churchâ€™s bloop single to shallow right-center.
“I thought we were going to steal one there,â€™â€™ Church said.
The Phillies came back with Pedro Felizâ€™s seventh-inning homer off Pedro Feliciano for the game-winner.
Still, the Mets had their chances, and by that, one should be able to guess the ugly numbers: They went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
They wasted Raul Casanovaâ€™s double in the eighth, then watched in frustration as the game slipped from them in the ninth.
Damion Easley walked to lead off against closer Brad Lidge and Reyes reached on an infield single.
Castillo, however, couldnâ€™t deliver a sacrifice. After Wright fouled out, the game ended when Phillies shortstop Eric Bruntlett snagged Beltranâ€™s grounder up the middle and threw him out by a step.
Close, but there wasnâ€™t a Met who didnâ€™t believe it never should have come down to that one play had they pulled off one or two earlier.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.