Phillies swept in DH by Mets

With nothing left to play for in the regular season, the

Philadelphia Phillies are playing as if they have nothing left.

Hunter Pence dropped a deep fly ball for an error that led to

five unearned runs, and the New York Mets completed a doubleheader

sweep with a 6-3 victory Saturday night that handed the NL East

champions their eighth straight defeat.

Having already secured homefield advantage throughout the

postseason, the sluggish Phillies remained winless since clinching

their fifth consecutive division title last Saturday. The losing

streak is their longest since an eight-game skid late in the 2000

season, when they finished 65-97 and last in the NL East under

manager Terry Francona.

In the afternoon opener, R.A. Dickey took a no-hit bid into the

seventh inning and David Wright hit a tiebreaking double in the

eighth as New York won 2-1. Shane Victorino doubled with one out in

the seventh for Philadelphia’s first hit, and Dickey wound up with

a no-decision.

Pitching a parade of relievers in a bullpen tuneup for the

playoffs, the Phillies jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against

rookie Dillon Gee in the nightcap. But things quickly unraveled in

the third.

With two on and two outs, Willie Harris hit a long drive to

right and Pence, making his first start since missing three games

with a strained left knee, took an awkward route to the ball. It

glanced off his glove on the warning track and both runners scored

on a three-base error.

David Herndon (1-4) then issued his second walk of the inning,

drawing the ire of visibly irritated manager Charlie Manuel. He

yanked the right-hander in favor of Kyle Kendrick, who gave up an

RBI double to Nick Evans and a two-run single to Josh Thole.

Jason Pridie doubled off Kendrick to begin the fourth and scored

on Ruben Tejada’s single, making it 6-3.

Batting cleanup, Pence also grounded into a 1-2-3 double play

with the bases loaded and nobody out in the first. Gee (13-6)

escaped unscathed and recovered from his shaky start to allow three

runs – two earned – and nine hits in six innings.

It was the first win in five starts for Gee, roughed up by

Philadelphia twice this season.

Bobby Parnell retired all five batters he faced, and Manny

Acosta got three outs for his fourth save. He also closed out the

day game.

After a rainout Friday night, the Phillies played their third

doubleheader in 10 days. The wet weather gave them their first day

off since Aug. 28, when they were rained out due to Hurricane

Irene.

Jimmy Rollins started both games for the Phillies. He had three

hits in the nightcap, including a bunt and an RBI single. Slumping

second baseman Chase Utley doubled, walked and hit the ball hard

three times.

Still, the pitching-rich Phillies are averaging just 2.41 runs

while going 5-12 in their last 17 games. They have four games

remaining before the playoff opener next Saturday.

Roy Halladay tries to stop the slide Sunday when he makes his

final regular-season start against Mike Pelfrey and the Mets.

Cole Hamels pitched seven sharp innings for the Phillies in the

opener, allowing only a pinch- homer by Valentino Pascucci that

tied the score in the seventh. The left-hander, 3-10 in 17 starts

against the Mets, yielded four hits and struck out seven.

Hamels said he’ll start again on three days’ rest Wednesday

night in Atlanta, using the regular-season finale as his final

tuneup for the playoffs. He said the losing streak has been

”depressing and angry.”

”I know we’re a good team and we’re not winning,” Hamels said.

”So it’s becoming very frustrating because you expect more out of

everybody, and we’re not able to do it.”

A switch-hitter, Victorino batted right-handed to get a better

look at Dickey’s knuckleball. He snapped an 0-for-20 slide with his

seventh-inning double and scored when Ryan Howard followed with a

single.

The Mets have never thrown a no-hitter. Born in 1962, they are

closing in on 50 full seasons without one.

”I had the type of knuckleball today where I thought I had the

chance, and I don’t often say that,” Dickey said.

Parnell (4-6) retired Placido Polanco on a grounder with two on

to end the eighth. Philadelphia had two on when Carlos Ruiz flied

out to end it.

Ruben Tejada singled with one out in the eighth off Brad Lidge

(0-2) and stole second before Wright hit a grounder inside third

base.

Hamels, trying to match a career high with his 15th win, let a

1-0 lead slip away when Pascucci went deep with two outs in the

seventh for his first major league home run since Oct. 2, 2004,

with the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium.

Dickey retired his first 15 batters before walking Ruiz to start

the sixth.

With two outs and Ruiz on second, Rollins hit a deep drive that

sent Evans back to the warning track. Evans, who began the game at

first base, got turned around and tumbled to the dirt as he made a

tough catch that kept the game scoreless.

”I just prayed,” Evans said.

NOTES: Howard returned to the lineup in the opener after missing

six games with a sore left ankle. He received an anti-inflammatory

injection Monday to relieve the pain. He did not start the

nightcap. … Mets manager Terry Collins indicated that RF Lucas

Duda and reliever Jason Isringhausen (back) probably will miss the

rest of the season. Duda was still having headaches after crashing

into the outfield fence Wednesday in St. Louis. … New York CF

Angel Pagan sat out both games. Pagan has been experiencing

headaches since hitting himself in the back of the head on a

backswing Thursday. … Former Mets slugger Darryl Strawberry was

asked whether any team ever offered to move in the outfield fences

for him. ”Don’t matter, I hit ’em out of anywhere,” he said,

smiling. The Mets are considering a change in the dimensions at

spacious Citi Field next season. … Dickey concluded his season

with his 12th straight quality start, a career best.