Cole Hamels hopes to make up for a so-so season by pitching well when it matters most.
Hamels pitched 6 2-3 effective innings, a new-look bullpen got the last seven outs and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 4-2 in a game played through steady rain Friday night.
Jimmy Rollins and Pedro Feliz had RBI singles and Shane Victorino hit a career-high three doubles for the NL East-leading Phillies, who increased their lead over Florida to six games.
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Hamels (9-9) allowed one run and seven hits, striking out six. Last year’s World Series and NLCS MVP, Hamels has been sharp in three of his last four starts.
“I’m trying to redeem my season and finish strong, finish the way I planned on starting the year,” Hamels said.
Chan Ho Park retired David Wright with the tying run on second in the seventh. Brett Myers needed just six pitches to get through an easy eighth. Ryan Madson finished for his seventh save in 12 chances after giving up one run.
Brad Lidge, who has 10 blown saves this year after going 48-for-48 last season, hasn’t been used in the last two save situations. Madson relieved Lidge after he loaded the bases in the ninth on Tuesday night and got the last two outs in a win at Washington. Madson also closed out Wednesday night’s victory over the Nationals.
“We’re definitely going to get Lidge back out there,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I want to just give him time to settle down from a mental state and (work on) his command.”
Mets starter Nelson Figueroa (2-5) allowed two runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He pitched out of trouble often as the Phillies stranded 13 runners and were 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
New York fell to a season-low 17 games under .500.
This Phillies-Mets series lacks the luster of previous Septembers when the two teams were battling for the division lead. Philadelphia edged out New York both times. The Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play in 2007. They lost a 3 1/2-game lead with 17 remaining last year, and the Phillies went on to win the World Series.
Rollins put the Phillies up 1-0 in the second with a two-out RBI single. But Figueroa escaped further trouble by retiring Chase Utley on a foul pop to leave the bases loaded.
Feliz delivered another two-out RBI single in the third to make it 2-0.
After the Mets cut it to 2-1 on Luis Castillo‘s sacrifice fly in the seventh, Carlos Ruiz gave Philadelphia a two-run cushion with a key sac fly in the bottom half.
“I wanted to stop the game and give him the ball,” Manuel joked. “I didn’t think we can do that.”
The Phillies have struggled getting runners in from third with less than two outs. They failed an inning earlier after Utley’s single chased Figueroa and put runners on first and third with one out. Ken Takahashi came in and struck out Ryan Howard and retired Raul Ibanez on a grounder to end the threat.
Victorino and Utley hit consecutive doubles in the eighth to extend the lead to 3-1.
Hamels’ strong effort was an encouraging sign for Philadelphia, which had lost five of seven. Hamels tossed eight scoreless innings in an extra-inning win at Pittsburgh on Aug. 26 and followed that up with a two-hit shutout against San Francisco. But he regressed in his next start, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings in a loss at Houston last Sunday.
“He was effective, ran his fastball up on our hitters and had a good changeup,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Hamels.
Kyle Kendrick (0-1) will start Game 1 of Sunday’s day/night doubleheader for the Phillies. Kendrick won 21 games over the last two seasons, but failed to win a spot in the rotation in spring training. … The Phillies recalled RHP Andrew Carpenter. … Several injured Phillies pitchers are making progress. LHP Scott Eyre (elbow) hopes to throw Monday. LHP J.C. Romero (forearm) threw on flat ground and felt fine. RHP Clay Condrey (oblique) will make a rehab appearance at Double-A Reading on Saturday. LHP J.A. Happ (oblique) is progressing. Phillies INF/OF Greg Dobbs (calf) ran the bases and will do it again Saturday. … Figueroa pitched for the Phillies in 2001 after joining the team in the trade that sent Curt Schilling to Arizona a year earlier. He was 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 games, including 13 starts.