Home runs bail out Santana as Mets top Phils 6-5

June 9, 2009 7:22:30 PM PDT
On a rare off-night for Johan Santana, the New York Mets bailed their ace out with their bats. David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church homered - with Church sending a drive over the 16-foot wall and into the well where the Home Run Apple sits in straightaway center field - and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Tuesday night.

Santana (8-3) tied his career high by allowing four home runs for only the second time in 221 major league starts, allowing drives to Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.

Ibanez's drive was just the 10th ever off Santana on an 0-2 pitch. But Santana also helped himself with his bat, hitting a tying double in the sixth off Clay Condrey (4-1). Alex Cora's RBI single made it 5-4 and Church homered off Chad Durbin in the seventh.

But Utley chased Santana with a home run leading off the eighth, and Jayson Werth singled off Bobby Parnell. Pedro Feliciano relieved and got Howard to ground into a double play, then retired Ibanez to bounce out.

Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 16th save in 16 chances. Rollins led off with a single, his fifth hit in two games since being dropped from leadoff to the No. 6 slot, pinch-hitter Matt Stairs grounded into a forceout and Greg Dobbs, another pinch-hitter, took a called strike three.

New York, which lost the NL East to the Phillies on the final day of each of the last two seasons, has won four of five against Philadelphia this year. Despite injuries to first baseman Carlos Delgado and shortstop Jose Reyes, the Mets closed within two games of the division leader.

Philadelphia also has health concerns. Before the game, the Phillies put struggling closer Brad Lidge on the disabled list because of a sprained right knee.

There were just 38 homers in the first 26 games at Citi Field - a fraction of the 105 in 29 games at the new Yankee Stadium - but seven were hit in this one, two more than the previous high set when the Mets beat the Phillies 7-5 on May 7.

Santana allowed a season-high five earned runs and eight hits in seven-plus innings. His ERA, which had led the NL at 2.00, rose to 2.39.

Phillies starter J.A. Happ gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Wright's second-inning homer ended his homerless streak at 100 at-bats, one shy of his career high, set in 2006. His fourth home run of the season was his first since May 7 against Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer. Beltran extended the lead to 3-0 with a two-run drive in the third.

Santana was dominant in the first four innings, starting 15 of 16 batters with strikes and throwing 42 of 50 pitches for strikes. But perhaps he was too much around the strike zone.

Howard turned on an 0-1 pitch for his 18th homer and Ibanez followed three pitches later with his 20th, the first off Santana on an 0-2 pitch since the Yankees' Jason Giambi on May 17 last year, according to STATS LLC.

Rollins hit a two-run drive for a 4-3 lead in the sixth, just his fourth home run of the season.

Fernando Tatis doubled leading off the bottom half and took third when catcher Carlos Ruiz threw away a pickoff attempt for an error. Tatis was thrown out at the plate by Howard on Church's grounder to first, although he appeared to slide in ahead of Ruiz's tag and plate umpire Lance Barksdale seemed to blow the call.

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