"I thought Bastardo and Romero did a heck of a job," Charlie Manuel said.
"That," catcher Brian Schneider said, "was huge."
And as far as bullpen tests go, Wednesday's will be one of the more challenging - especially for the relief corps of a pitching staff that is heralded for its collection of aces.
There will be few occasions this season when the Phillies will ask their bullpen for 19 and 14 outs on consecutive days. Having the Four Aces assures less work for a bullpen that already logged the fewest innings of any National League bullpen in 2010.
After Blanton squandered a seven-run lead, the Phillies scored three times - buoyed by an excuse-me swing that turned into a double for Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco's dashing home from second on an infield single by Ryan Howard.
In the fifth inning, Blanton turned a 7-2 lead into a 7-6 game in the span of six pitches to four batters. Then, he walked Brad Emaus on four pitches and Manuel came with the hook. As Blanton trotted off, the fans at Citizens Bank Park cheered, and somewhere Cole Hamels smiled.
Coming in from the bullpen was Bastardo, and what was started by Blanton was the young lefthander's mess now: bases loaded with one out in a one-run game.
"That's kind of how someone like Bastardo grows up," Manuel said.
He allowed a game-tying single to Daniel Murphy, but limited the damage in what could have been an even uglier situation. In the sixth, Bastardo faced the 2-3-4 spots of the Mets order and retired the side, including a strikeout of David Wright on a 93-m.p.h. fastball. For his effort, Bastardo earned the win.
"That's what he needs to do," Romero said. "I kind of took him under my wing because he reminds me of me early in my career. He's a guy who has to slow down. He has so much potential. He has a good arm. He has to use his energy in a positive way. He tends to get hyper out there.
"I don't think he knows how good he is."
Next came Romero, who the Phillies have said will strictly serve as a lefty specialist. On Wednesday, purely out of necessity, Romero faced two righties and a lefty. The only one to reach base was the lefty, Ike Davis, but he was erased on an inning-ending double play.
All three outs came off of Romero's change-up, a pitch he did not use as much in 2010 as he normally does because of uncertainty coming off elbow surgery.
"So far, so good," Romero said.
Those eight outs put the game in the hands of Madson and Jose Contreras. Madson pitched a perfect eighth. Contreras needed 21 pitches to finish off the ninth.
For one night, Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee could sit back and admire the work of a bullpen that has no expectations compared to the starters. These nights could be rare in 2011, but they do happen.
"Sometimes," Romero said, "you win the games in the middle innings."
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/magelb