Each win over Mets gets harder to believe, Harry

Posted: September 17, 2007

NEW YORK - The reality is, if the Phillies didn't get a slew of twilight-zone wins against the Mets over the past 3 weeks, they aren't in the playoff picture.

However, they have won eight in a row against New York - the last six in various weird manners. Yesterday, they used six Mets errors to complete a three-game sweep - the most errors by the Mets since Sept. 13, 2002, in Montreal.

"That's probably the part that's hard to understand," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel marveled at the madness. "It's hard to put your finger on."

"You don't think about where you would be. You only think about where you're going," Aaron Rowand said. "That said, I've been involved in games that are crazy or whatever. Just not [six] in a row."

The craziness unfolded thus:

* ROLLED: Aug. 28 . . . Rowand started it all with a 45-foot single up the third-base line that scored Shane Victorino from third base, tying the game - a grounder that, thanks to the unusual cant of the baseline at Citizens Bank Park, usually stays fair. Victorino was on third because he pinch-ran for Pat Burrell, who earned a one-out walk. Victorino stole second, then took third when catcher Paul Lo Duca slipped on the plate and threw wild into centerfield. Ryan Howard won the game with a walkoff homer in the 10th.

* ELECTRIC SLIDE: Aug. 29 . . . With the Mets trailing by a run in the ninth, with runners on first and third and one out, Shawn Green chopped a ball past the mound. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins charged it and double-clutched on the difficult flip to second base, making it almost certain that Green would be safe at first, the run would score and, at least, the Phillies would have to hit in the ninth. Except Marlon Anderson slid wide to the third-base side of second and used his arms to clobber second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, whose throw to first was too late to get Green. However, Green was ruled out because Anderson interfered with Iguchi.

* YOU DIRTY RAT: Aug. 30 . . . After the Phillies' bullpen turned a three-run lead into a two-run deficit in the top of the eighth, Mets nemesis and Billy Wagner detractor Pat Burrell - who once called Wagner a "rat" - homered off the closer in the bottom of the eighth. Wagner, terrible at holding runners on, gave up two singles and three steals - two to unlikely thief Jayson Werth - in the ninth before Chase Utley drove in the winning run.

* SIMMER DOWN: Sept. 14 . . . Lo Duca, the starting catcher, was ejected for arguing a called third strike that ended the ninth inning. With no outs and Werth on first in the 10th, Lo Duca's replacement, Mike DiFelice, dropped a popped-up bunt attempt by Carlos Ruiz, earning himself an error. Ruiz then bunted, badly, directly back to pitcher Aaron Heilman, who hurriedly threw high to second base. A bunt and a flyball later, the Phillies scored the winning run.

* TWO STEPS FORWARD: Sept. 15 . . . Rowand tied the game with a leadoff homer in the eighth but the rally seemed to stall after Jimmy Rollins lofted a flyball to centerfield at silky-smooth Carlos Beltran . . . but Beltran broke in on the ball and was unable to recover. Rollins' triple scored both runs. Earlier in the game, Jose Reyes was thrown out trying to steal third with two on, two out and a two-run lead on the first pitch to league MVP candidate David Wright. Also, Luis Castillo was doubled off second base when he badly misread a line drive to leftfield.

Flashback

Flash Gordon, 39, had his lower left back tighten while he faced Endy Chavez in the eighth inning. He has not had the problem in the past.

"I thought my belt was too tight," Gordon said. "I loosened it."

His back did not loosen, though.

Having pitched in three straight games, Gordon is not available tonight in St. Louis regardless of how his back feels.

Gordon made a slight adjustment with his hands and has allowed just three hits and struck out seven in his last five outings, all of which have been scoreless.

Phillers

Cole Hamels' 45-pitch bullpen session Saturday went very well, so he will come off the 15-day disabled list and start tomorrow in St. Louis . . . Ryan Howard struck out twice yesterday and broke the team record of 182 set by Jim Thome in 2003, which he tied Saturday. He stands at 184 and is on pace to break by five Adam Dunn's major league record of 195 set in 2004 . . . Greg Dobbs' fifth-inning homer was the second pinch-hit grand slam by the Phillies this season. Howard hit one May 9 in Arizona . . . The last time the Mets committed five errors in a game was July 18, 2003, in Atlanta . . . Jimmy Rollins' 54-game errorless streak was snapped in the sixth inning when he botched a backhand attempt on speedy Endy Chavez' grounder. It was the longest streak of Rollins' career and the longest by a shortstop in the majors this season . . . With David Wright's 30th homer of the season yesterday, off Geoff Geary in the seventh, he became the third Met to have a 30-homer, 30-steal season (Howard Johnson, 1987, '89, '91; Darryl Strawberry, 1987). *

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