Mets 1, Phillies 0

Jeff Francoeur delivered for the New York Mets and for a
friend.

When popular and well-respected infielder Alex Cora was released
by the team on Saturday afternoon he told Francoeur to ”hit a
rocket” that night against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Francoeur’s homer leading off the seventh was New York’s only
run, and Johan Santana made it stick by allowing five hits in 7 1-3
innings to lead the Mets to a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia,
snapping the Phillies’ five-game winning streak.

”I didn’t promise him a home run. I don’t do that,” Francoeur
said, with a laugh. ”I’m not Babe Ruth, but I promised him I’d
try.”

For one swing, Francoeur got his Ruthian result, and it traveled
just over the right-field wall. It came on a day when he was told
by manager Jerry Manuel that he would platoon with Fernando
Martinez, who was called up with second baseman Ruben Tejada.
Francoeur also hit a game-winning home run on Aug. 3 off Atlanta’s
Billy Wagner.

”If my name is in the lineup, I’ll play,” Francoeur said.
”That’s all I can do.”

Francisco Rodriguez got the final five outs for his 24th save in
29 chances as the Mets ended Philadelphia’s five-game winning
streak and 12-game home streak.

Lefties Santana (9-6) and Cole Hamels traded scoreless frames
through the first six innings. Santana struck out six, walked three
and didn’t allow a hit until Placido Polanco singled with two outs
in the sixth.

Hamels (7-8) had given up five hits heading into the seventh –
with nine of his 11 strikeouts – before Francoeur led off with his
11th homer just over the right-center field fence.

”Unfortunately, one bad pitch decided the game,” Hamels said.
”It was a change-up and he went out and got it.”

Reliever Chad Durbin loaded the bases in the eighth, but escaped
by striking out Francoeur on a high fastball.

The Phillies then took their turn to threaten in the bottom of
the eighth. Jimmy Rollins and Ibanez singled, with Ibanez extending
his hitting streak to 15 games. Santana made a difficult play on
Polanco’s sacrifice attempt to the third-base side of the mound,
then fired to David Wright for a crucial force out.

”Him jumping off the mound and getting that out at third was
big for us,” Manuel said. ”A guy really has to make an excellent
bunt for him not to get it. He’s a cat when it comes to fielding
his position.”

Anticipating a bunt, which had been called for by Phillies
manager Charlie Manuel, Santana said he threw a change up to give
himself more time to react.

”I knew he could bunt, and you have to get there as quick as
possible,” Santana said. ”That gave me time to see if he squares.
I was able to throw the ball right away to David. I knew if it was
bunted toward third, I would have a chance, and (catcher Henry
Blanco) let me know right away to go to third. We have to find ways
at this point.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel then went to Rodriguez. He walked
Jayson Werth with two outs, but retired Ross Gload on a grounder to
second. After he missed with a change-up on 2-2, he returned with
another.

”If you throw (a change-up) on 2-2, you can throw it on 3-2,”
said Rodriguez, who then worked a perfect ninth inning. ”I went
back to off-speed, a get-me-over breaking ball to see if I can get
him to roll over. That’s what I get.”

Notes: Philadelphia CF Shane Victorino (left abdominal strain)
took batting practice at Citizens Bank Park, and the team is
hopeful that he can begin a rehab assignment sometime next week.
… The Mets made two roster moves before the game, releasing
infielder Alex Cora and optioning Jesus Feliciano to Triple-A
Buffalo. They recalled outfielder Fernando Martinez and Ruben
Tejada from the Bisons.