The Phillies were completely confounded by R.A. Dickey, a 35-year-old who used his floating knuckler to make them feel like they were playing Wiffle ball on a windy night.
Dickey held the Phillies to one hit, a looping single by Hamels, of all people, with one out in the sixth inning.
He extended the Phillies' scoreless streak at Citi Field this season to 36 innings. Stunning as it sounds, the Phillies have been blanked in all four games they've played here.
"I look at that as it's just a matter of time," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We will score, and when we do, hopefully they'll come in bunches. When a team throws four shutouts at you at their home field during the course of a season, I'd say that's pretty good pitching."
The Mets scored on consecutive two-out doubles by David Wright and Carlos Beltran in the sixth inning.
The Phillies had faced Dickey twice this season with dramatically different results. Dickey held them scoreless over six innings in an 8-0 win on May 25 at Citi Field. The Phillies got their payback on Sunday, when Dickey lasted only three innings in a 6-5 Phillies win. It was Dickey's shortest appearance of the season.
But Dickey has been more effective at the Mets' spacious home field, where he is 5-1.
The Phillies practically went into contortions as they flailed at Dickey's dancing knuckleball. If not for Hamels, he'd have had a no-hitter.
"It's impressive to see because I know I could never do it," Hamels said of Dickey's knuckler. "It moves a lot, and he had a really good one."
Few pitchers in the majors have been as effective as Hamels with so little to show for it.
"That's unreal," Manuel said. "He pitched a super ball game. I feel bad for him, but if he keeps pitching that way he's going to win us a lot of games. That's the bright side of it."
Amazingly, Hamels has one win since June 13 even though he's consistently pitched well. The Phillies went into the game averaging 3.51 runs a game in his 23 starts, the seventh-lowest run support in the National League. They've scored a total of eight runs in Hamels' last six starts.
If Hamels is discouraged, he's not letting on.
"You're bummed but it's like, OK, let's put this one behind us because we need to get them tomorrow," he said. "They [his teammates] are happy I'm able to go out there and plug away and do my job."
Hamels set down the first two hitters in the sixth before David Wright launched a drive over the head of centerfielder Shane Victorino.
"It seemed like he got kind of turned around," Manuel said.
Said Victorino, "He beat me. It went over my head, plain and simple."
Carlos Beltran scored Wright with a double off the left-field wall for the only run in a briskly played game that ended in two hours, nine minutes.
The Mets thought they'd taken a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Mike Hessman's leadoff fly to left field was initially ruled a home run. Leftfielder Raul Ibanez ran halfway toward the infield gesturing that a fan had reached over the fence and touched the ball. After a video review that delayed the game for 6 minutes, 35 seconds, Hessman was ordered back to third base for a triple.
Hessman got no farther as Hamels struck out Jeff Francoeur and Henry Blanco, and got Dickey on a grounder after intentionally walking Ruben Tejada.
The Phillies season-long futility at Citi Field began in late May when they were shut out three consecutive times. It was the first time the Phils had gone scoreless in a three-game series since 1983 and the first time it happened in the majors since 2004.
At least the Phillies didn't have to concern themselves with Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, who was suspended for two games after hitting his girlfriend's father following Wednesday's game. The Phillies haven't scored in 15 innings against Rodriguez. By missing two games on suspension, Rodriguez loses $125,000 of his salary.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.