PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The plastic hanging at the top of the lockers in the Phillies clubhouse remained unfurled. Philadelphia will have to wait at least one more day to celebrate a return to the playoffs.
Lucas Duda hit a three-run double in the Mets’ five-run seventh inning, and New York snapped the Philadelphia Phillies’ 11-game winning streak with a 5-2 win on Saturday night.
“We’ve been around long enough that it’s not much of a factor,” Phillies reliever Chad Durbin said.
The NL East-leading Phillies missed out on a chance to clinch a fourth straight playoff berth – all they need is one win and they’re in – with their first defeat since Sept. 11 in New York. Philadelphia’s magic number to secure its fourth division title in a row is two.
The two-time defending NL champion Phillies are 45-16 since July 21, when they trailed Atlanta by seven games. They are 19-4 in September and have a six-game lead over the Braves, who beat Washington 5-0.
“This one’s gone,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Rookie Dillon Gee (2-1), making his fourth big league start, limited the Phillies to two runs on five hits in seven innings, helping the Mets end a season-high six-game losing streak.
“I was nervous at the start. I’ve never played before a crowd like that,” Gee said, referring to the 45,274 fans, the 122nd straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. “But I settled down and felt OK. I like the atmosphere a lot.”
Hisanori Takahashi worked the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Philadelphia.
Kyle Kendrick (10-10) cruised through the first six innings before the Mets rallied. Carlos Beltran singled ahead of David Wright’s fielder’s choice. Ike Davis then hit a single. An error by Howard at first loaded the bases. Josh Thole singled in the first run, chasing Kendrick. Durbin came on and gave up a pinch-hit double to Duda, who has nine hits this season, seven for extra bases.
“He’s a run producer,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’ll put up some big RBI numbers if he gets his at-bats.”
Two batters later, Jose Reyes hit an RBI double to make it 5-2.
The game was played without incident a day after the Mets were angered by Chase Utley’s hard takeout slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning. There were a few hard slides Saturday, including one by Wilson Valdes into Reyes in the fifth, but no tempers flared.
Utley went 1 for 4 Saturday. Some Mets were still upset at the play.
“He’s too good to be doing that,” Beltran said. “He’s such a good player, but I guess that’s the way he plays.”
Beltran also said the intention from the Mets side was to “send a message” and “hit somebody,” though such a response never came.
Saturday’s win was the 700th win of Manuel’s career, 200 with the Mets.