Phillies 7, Mets 5

With their big boppers out of the lineup, the Philadelphia

Phillies keep finding ways to continue their playoff push.

Carlos Ruiz singled in the go-ahead run during a six-run eighth

inning and Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 7-5 Friday night for

its fifth straight win.

The two-time NL champion Phillies, depleted by injuries to key

players, moved within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta with

their 13th win in 15 games. The Braves hosted San Francisco on

Friday.

”It was a great team win,” said newly acquired Mike Sweeney,

who got two hits in the eighth. ”It’s exciting to come to the

ballpark every day. This is a dream come true.”

Both starters pitched well, though neither stuck around for a

decision. Chad Durbin (3-1) tossed a scoreless inning for the win.

Bobby Parnell (0-1) didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced

in the eighth.

After pinch-hitter Mike Hessman hit a three-run homer off J.C.

Romero with two outs in the ninth, Brad Lidge got the final out for

his 13th save in 17 chances.

The Mets wasted another strong outing by Jonathon Niese. The

23-year-old lefty allowed one run and four hits, striking out seven

in seven innings.

”Niese pitched extremely well,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel

said. ”He had good life on all of his pitches.”

Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton allowed two runs and seven hits in

seven innings in his best outing this season.

The teams hadn’t played each other since the Mets shut out the

Phillies in three straight games in New York on May 25-27.

Despite being without All-Stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and

Shane Victorino, the Phillies have improved to a season-best 13

games above .500 at 61-48.

”Everybody is stepping up,” Blanton said. ”It shows the depth

of our team.”

Once Niese left, the Phillies rallied against Parnell and Pedro

Feliciano in the eighth. Sweeney led off with a single and went to

third on Jayson Werth’s single. Ben Francisco’s soft single to

left-center drove in Sweeney to tie it at 2. Ruiz followed with an

RBI single up the middle.

Ruiz hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning of a 5-4 win at

Florida on Thursday night. He’s batting .302 this year, 56 points

higher than his career average of .246 entering the season.

”This is the best I’ve seen him hit,” Phillies manager Charlie

Manuel said.

Feliciano then came in to face Wilson Valdez, who reached on a

bunt single to load the bases. Ross Gload walked to force in a run

and Jimmy Rollins singled in another run. After Placido Polanco’s

sacrifice fly, Sweeney delivered an RBI single for his second hit

of the inning and a 7-2 lead.

The Phillies got Sweeney from Seattle on Wednesday. The

five-time AL All-Star will help fill in for Howard, who was out

with an ankle injury.

”I’m no Ryan Howard. I’m not even close to the man he is,

especially on the baseball field,” Sweeney said. ”Me and Ross

(Gload) have to go out there and do our job until the big guy gets

back.”

Niese allowed a run in the first on Polanco’s RBI double but

nothing else. The 23-year-old lefty lowered his ERA to 3.63 by

allowing one run or less for the 10th time in 20 starts.

Josh Thole’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Mets a 2-1 lead.

The Mets tied it at 1 in the third when Jose Reyes hit a two-out

single to score Jeff Francoeur, who led off with a single.

NOTES: Former Phillies C Darren Daulton was inducted into the

team’s Wall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. Daulton was a

three-time All-Star and member of the 1993 NL championship team.

Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt took

part in the ceremony. Carlton, who wasn’t talkative during his

career, introduced Daulton on stage. … Mets 3B David Wright

snapped an 0-for-16 slump with his fourth-inning single. … Niese

struck out the side on 10 pitches in the fourth. … A crowd of

45,378 was the 92nd straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. …

Phillies LF Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a

career-high 14 games.