Phillies blank the Mets

September 5, 2008 7:18:45 PM PDT
Brett Myers buzzed through the New York Mets' lineup, pitching eight dominant innings and leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-0 victory Friday night that cut their NL East deficit to two games. Greg Dobbs hit a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (13-9), and the Phillies took the opener of a crucial three-game series between the top teams in the division. Philadelphia, which rallied past the collapsing Mets last September, handed New York only its sixth loss in 23 games.

Brad Lidge got through a shaky ninth, retiring Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church with two on to end it.

Shane Victorino helped manufacture a run in the first inning, giving Myers all the offense he needed. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out 10 in another overpowering performance, winning his fourth straight start.

After struggling early this season and even going down to the minors to polish his game, Myers (9-10) is 6-1 in nine outings since coming back from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 20. He has not allowed a run in three of his past four starts, yielding only two runs in his last 31 innings.

Lidge remained perfect in 34 save chances this year. He completed Philadelphia's NL-leading 11th shutout this season, while New York was blanked for the fifth time.

David Wright doubled with one out in the ninth and went to third on Carlos Delgado's single. But Beltran flied to shallow left on a 3-1 pitch and Victorino ran down Church's long drive to center.

With two meetings left this weekend, Philadelphia improved to 6-10 against the Mets this season. The Phillies won the final eight matchups last year and overtook their rivals to win the division.

Philadelphia is looking for another comeback this September, and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt sent the team an inspirational message that is sure to rankle Mets fans.

A Phillies star from 1972-89 and now a special instructor in spring training for the team, Schmidt wrote Charlie Manuel an e-mail that the manager posted on the inside door of the clubhouse for his players to see as they headed out for batting practice Friday.

Part of it read: "the Mets know you're better than they are.

They remember last year."

It was the latest boast in a rivalry that's become awfully bitter the past two seasons.

Victorino got Philadelphia started this time when he singled in the first, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by catcher Brian Schneider. Chase Utley delivered an RBI groundout.

With two outs in the seventh, Dobbs drove a 2-2 pitch to right and the ball skimmed off the top of Church's glove as he leaped at the fence.

When he came down, Church looked at his glove and slammed it on his knee in frustration.

Pelfrey lost for the first time in five starts, yielding two earned runs and four hits in seven innings.

Notes: New York closer Billy Wagner (elbow) threw another bullpen session and said it went well. He and the Mets are targeting a Tuesday return, but Wagner thinks it might be better to hold off until next weekend against Atlanta. Interestingly, manager Jerry Manuel said if Wagner doesn't have a chance to face hitters in a game situation - such as a minor league rehab assignment - before coming off the disabled list, he might use the lefty in setup situations at first to make sure he's sound. ... If Saturday's game is rained out, as expected, the teams plan to play a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. ... The Mets homered in their previous 14 games. ... Myers threw 118 pitches and struck out eight of 11 batters during one stretch that included an intentional walk. ...

Plate umpire Paul Emmel ejected Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee in the sixth after Dubee visited the mound following Daniel Murphy's two-out double. Murphy had taken a close pitch with two strikes.