Ryan Madson threw a first-pitch changeup just to see if David Wright was swinging early in the at-bat.
Wright was definitely swinging early.
The All-Star third baseman drove that pitch into the left-field seats for a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning to rally the New York Mets to a 10-9 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.
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It was another bullpen meltdown for NL East-leading Philadelphia and a rare thrilling win for the way-back Mets, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
“It feels good to be successful and it feels good to win a close game,” Wright said.
Wright homered twice and matched a career high with six RBIs. He hit a two-run shot off Brett Myers in the eighth to start the rally that saw the Mets score five runs off the Phillies bullpen in the final two innings.
Yes, even the Mets have a chance against the back end of Philadelphia’s bullpen.
Brad Lidge, last year’s perfect World Series championship star, blew 10 saves and lost his job as the regular closer. Madson now has six blown saves.
The Phillies need to find a reliable closer heading into October if they want to have any chance of a repeat.
Philadelphia manger Charlie Manuel wants Lidge to prove he can nail down the wins during the stretch run and not have to turn to Madson or Myers in the ninth.
“He’s going to get a chance to close games out again,” Manuel said. “You might see him out there tomorrow. Depends on how I feel.”
Madson (5-5) had retired the first two batters in the ninth before Fernando Tatis (4 for 5) singled. Wright then hit the next pitch into the left-field seats for his 10th homer of the season.
“It’s not a good feeling, but the next day you come out with the same attitude you had today,” Madson said. “The only time I’ve ever seen anybody be perfect was Brad Lidge last year and that was amazing.”
Pedro Feliciano (6-4) got the final out in the eighth inning for the win. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 31st save.
Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz all homered for the Phillies.
Wright’s homer in the eighth, his first shot since Aug. 5, made it 9-7. Myers and Madson gave up all five runs in the last two innings.
Wright needed something to feel good about in the second half of the season. The Mets have been awful and Wright had a stint on the disabled list because of a concussion courtesy of Matt Cain‘s fastball to his helmet on Aug. 15.
“When he gets right, he stays right in there,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
Trailing 9-8, the Mets wasted a chance to take the lead in the eighth after putting runners on the corners. Chan Ho Park retired pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan to end the threat and seemingly preserve the win for Philadelphia starter Jamie Moyer.
It all unraveled – again – for the Phillies in the ninth.
While the Phillies are struggling holding leads, Moyer seems to have regained his form.
He rebounded from a four-run first inning to retire 14 straight in one stretch. Yanked from the rotation last month in favor of Pedro Martinez, Moyer made the most of his second straight start in place of injured rookie J.A. Happ.
The Phillies entered with a six-game lead in the East over Florida – a solid advantage, though not a sure sign of a division title. The Mets led the NL East at this point in each of the last two years, only to collapse and yield the division to Philadelphia. The Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play in 2007.
“You can be caught,” Manuel said.
The injury-riddled Mets have long been out of contention this season. Coming off his strongest outing of the year in a win against Chicago, Mike Pelfrey couldn’t hold the early lead or get that crucial third out.
With two outs in the second, Feliz hit a two-run shot that cut New York’s lead to 4-2. His 11th homer was Philadelphia’s 200th of the season in 140 games, the fastest they have reached that long ball milestone.
Pelfrey retired the first two batters in the third only to have Utley and Ibanez each hit their 31st homers. Ibanez pulled the ball into the right-field seats for a two-run shot that put the Phillies ahead 5-4.
Jimmy Rollins added run-scoring hits in the fourth and sixth that padded Philadelphia’s lead.
It just wasn’t enough. Madson stumbled when it mattered most.
“It’s why closers get paid more than anybody else in the bullpen,” Madson said.
NOTES: Mets manager Jerry Manuel didn’t know Derek Jeter broke the Yankees career hit record on Friday night. “Derek break the record? Single? Double? Game winner?” … Wright has two other six-RBI games. His last multihomer game was Sept. 14, 2008, vs. Atlanta.