There’s something about Citi Field that gets the Phillies going.
Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. hit consecutive home runs to break open a close game as Philadelphia finally got some offensive production from its outfield Saturday, beating the New York Mets 9-4 to give Jonathan Pettibone his first major league win.
”That’s definitely good. It’s what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve got to make it more often,” manager Charlie Manuel said. ”We haven’t been hitting in those right situations to knock those runs in, and today we did.”
Ryan Howard drove in two runs, Jimmy Rollins scored twice and Michael Young had three hits for the second consecutive day. Pettibone (1-0) pitched his way out of a critical jam to help Philadelphia improve to 4-1 against the Mets after losing the season series last year.
The Phillies have won five in a row and nine of 12 at Citi Field, dating to 2011.
Shaun Marcum (0-1) went four innings in his Mets debut after beginning the season on the disabled list with a neck injury and right biceps tendinitis. John Buck hit his eighth homer in the ninth, way too late to prevent New York from dropping to 3-5 on a nine-game homestand with its third straight defeat.
”It’s the one big inning that’s hurting us right now,” Buck said.
Making his second start in place of injured John Lannan, Pettibone threw 96 pitches in five innings. But he limited the Mets to three runs on seven hits after holding Pittsburgh to a pair of solo homers over 5 1/3 innings Monday.
”It was definitely a battle, from pretty much the first batter. I felt like every inning I was in some sort of circumstance, struggling somewhere. But I was able to make a few good pitches at certain times,” said Pettibone, who was still hoping to receive a souvenir game ball after his teammates gave him a fake one in a common big league prank.
”My teammates picked me up offensively and defensively,” he said.
Pettibone’s father, Jay, made four starts for the Minnesota Twins in 1983 and played for Manuel at Double-A Orlando a year later.
”My dad always joked around, saying like, `If you think it’s hard understanding him now, you should have seen him back then,”’ Pettibone said.
David Wright and Jordany Valdespin had RBI doubles for the Mets, who fielded the same shuffled lineup that was shut out by Kyle Kendrick on three singles Friday night.
Brown hit a three-run shot to right off reliever Rob Carson in the fifth and Mayberry drove the next pitch way out to left, making it 8-2. It was the second set of back-to-back homers for the Phillies this season, both against the Mets.
”I figured he’d try to get ahead with a fastball. I just wanted to try not to do too much with it,” Mayberry said. ”Obviously, it’s kind of exciting when a guy in front of you hits a homer, but you don’t want to think about trying to follow it up. It just happened.”
Pettibone loaded the bases with none out in the fourth on consecutive singles and a four-pitch walk. But after a mound visit from pitching coach Rich Dubee, the 22-year-old righty minimized the damage.
Ike Davis hit a sacrifice fly to the left-field warning track, Valdespin forced a runner at second and Pettibone threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Justin Turner to preserve a 3-2 lead.
”That’s kind of what you want to do as a pitcher — avoid the big innings. And that inning was looking like it was going to blow up,” Pettibone said. ”Damage control. Anytime you can do that is really big.”
Manuel said Pettibone will remain in the rotation for the time being.
”He deserves to pitch some more,” the folksy manager said. ”He kept his composure. … He got in a tight jam there but he wiggled his way out of it. That was good.”
It also was the end of the afternoon for Marcum, pulled for the pinch hitter, and Philadelphia immediately broke the game open against a dreadful New York bullpen that began the day ranked next-to-last in the majors with a 5.02 ERA.
”Our starters have got to get us deep into the game,” manager Terry Collins said. ”We’re using guys in the fifth and sixth innings that you can pitch in the seventh (or) eighth.”
Rollins doubled off Carson to start the fifth and Howard was credited with an RBI single when his hard smash skipped right through Ruben Tejada’s legs, eating up the shortstop with an in-between hop.
Brown and Mayberry followed with much longer shots off Carson, who retained his spot in the bullpen Saturday when New York demoted fellow left-hander Josh Edgin to make roster room for Marcum.
Pettibone helped himself at the plate, too. He sparked Philadelphia’s three-run third with a leadoff single for his first major league hit and scored on Chase Utley’s ground-rule double. Rollins dashed home on Marcum’s wild pitch and Howard added a sacrifice fly.
Howard has 21 RBI in his last 12 games against the Mets.
”His swing’s starting to really come around. And that’s good, because we need that,” Manuel said.
Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (0-3, 5.40 ERA) makes his sixth start of the season Sunday in the series finale. Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 games against the Mets, but he went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four outings against them last year. LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.81) pitches for New York. Niese was knocked out of Tuesday’s start when he was hit near the right ankle by a third-inning comebacker. … All-Star C Carlos Ruiz was slated to catch six innings Saturday night for Double-A Reading before returning to the Phillies when his 25-game amphetamine suspension ends Sunday. ”We need him back. We’re going to get better when he comes back,” Manuel said.