"Victori"-ous 4th for the Phils

July 4, 2008 7:31:49 PM PDT
Shane Victorino's two-out RBI single in the ninth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over the New York Mets 3-2 on Friday night. Duaner Sanchez (3-1) retired the first two batters before Pedro Feliz doubled to left field. Victorino followed with a liner to right on a 1-2 pitch to score Feliz and send a sellout crowd into a frenzy.

The NL East-leading Phillies have won four straight after losing 13 of 18.

Brad Lidge (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Philadelphia's stellar bullpen tossed 4 1-3 scoreless innings. Chad Durbin retired the seven batters he faced, striking out six, after replacing starter J.A. Happ in the fifth. Ryan Madson threw a scoreless eighth.

Johan Santana again had nothing to show for a strong outing. Santana gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-4 in his last six starts despite a 2.48 ERA in that span.

The inconsistent Mets fell 5½ games behind the Phillies, though both teams know that's a short lead in July.

The Phillies battled the Mets to the final day of the regular season last year, overtaking New York to win their first division title in 14 years. The Mets had a seven-game lead with 17 remaining, before their historic collapse.

New York backed Santana with two runs in the fifth but the Phillies tied it in the sixth. Jayson Werth and Chase Utley hit one-out singles. After Jimmy Rollins flied out, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell delivered back-to-back RBI singles.

Happ allowed two runs and three hits in 4 2-3 innings in his second career start. Happ was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace opening-day starter Brett Myers, who was demoted this week after struggling all season.

The left-hander's only other start came against the Mets last year. He gave up five runs in four innings and took the loss.

Happ ran into trouble in the fifth. Damion Easley led off with a single and Ramon Castro followed with a ground-rule double to right. After Chris Aguila walked to load the bases, Santana fouled out. Jose Reyes then hit into a fielder's choice, beating out the relay throw from second to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Happ then walked Endy Chavez to reload the bases and walked David Wright to force in the second run after barely missing on an 0-2 pitch that would've ended the inning. Durbin came in and fanned Carlos Beltran to strand three runners.

Notes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel juggled his starting lineup so left-handed hitters Utley and Howard wouldn't bat back-to-back against the Mets' lefty-rich staff. Utley moved up to the No. 2 spot with Jimmy Rollins going from leadoff to No. 3 and Howard stayed in the cleanup slot. ... Santana has never lost five straight decisions.

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