Halladay and Phils end 8-game skid, rout Mets 9-4

Philadelphia Phillies' Hunter Pence, right, congratulates teammates Carlos Ruiz, center, and Ryan Madson after they defeated the New York Mets 9-4 in the baseball game at Citi Field in New York, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. Pence and Ruiz combined for seven of the Phillies' 19 hits and five of nine runs batted in. Madson pitched a scoreless ninth inning. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

September 25, 2011 2:47:30 PM PDT
Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence and the fully loaded Philadelphia Phillies snapped their eight-game losing streak, looking playoff-ready in every way Sunday by routing the New York Mets 9-4.

Playing their regular lineup for the first time since clinching the NL East, the Phillies posted their major league-leading 99th victory. Pence homered during a three-run first inning, each starter had a hit by the third and Carlos Ruiz's single made it 9-0 in the fourth.

That was plenty for Halladay (19-6). He tuned up for his expected start in Game 1 of the NL playoffs Saturday by throwing six scoreless innings of four-hit ball. Last year's unanimous Cy Young Award winner finished this regular season with a career-best 2.35 ERA.

Halladay won his eighth straight start against the Mets and closed his outing by fanning Nick Evans with the bases loaded. It was Halladay's third strikeout of the game - that was his 220th of the year, one more than his previous high.

Phillies rookie Vance Worley gave up one run in 1 2-3 innings during his first relief appearance since leaving the rotation. He is 11-3 but with Philadelphia boasting four aces, he'll work out of the bullpen in October.

The Phillies' skid was their longest since 2000, and the worst by any big league team after wrapping up first place since the World Series began in 1903, STATS LLC said.

Frustrated by all the losses, manager Charlie Manuel put all his regulars on the field and also tinkered with the lineup, moving Chase Utley into the second slot. And after scoring a total of only 16 runs during the slide, the Phillies responded with 19 hits.

Ruiz went 4 for 4 with a walk. His two-run hit in the fourth drew a mixed response from the crowd, with Phillies fans cheering his "Chooch" nickname and Mets fans simply booing.

Pence also tripled, singled and walked. He made a costly error Saturday night in his first start since missing three games because of a strained knee.

Manuel quickly began pulling his All-Stars. Ryan Howard came out for a pinch-runner in the fourth and Jimmy Rollins left following the sixth. The romp sent the Phillies to Atlanta for a season-ending three-game series against the NL wild-card leaders.

Phillies pitcher Justin De Fratus apparently got dressed for the road trip a bit early. He wore a pink feather boa on the walk from the dugout to the bullpen before the game, surely a bit of rookie hazing.

Mike Pelfrey (7-13) was battered from the outset. He was done after three innings, leaving him with only one win in his last 12 starts of the season.

With their 83rd loss, the Mets matched last year's total. The Mets had won three in a row, but Pence's 21st home run on Pelfrey's 10th pitch put them behind for good. Ronny Paulino hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo.

Mets fans, however, did get a good laugh when third baseman Justin Turner tripped and fell face-first over the mound chasing a popup. Later, they loudly cheered a New York score - by the Giants, that is, when highlights of their NFL game against the Eagles were shown on the video board.

NOTES: Minus David Wright, Jason Bay and several other regulars, the Mets' starters began the afternoon with a combined total of 20 home runs this season. Howard, Pence and Raul Ibanez each had that many for the Phils. ... The Phillies open a three-game series at Atlanta on Monday night. Cliff Lee (16-8, 2.38 ERA) starts for Philadelphia against Randall Delgado (1-1, 2.70). ... The Mets host Cincinnati starting Monday night. Chris Schwinden (0-2, 5.06) starts for New York vs. Homer Bailey (9-7, 4.32). ... Mets SS Jose Reyes went 2 for 4. He came in hitting .330, a point behind NL batting leader Ryan Braun of Milwaukee. ... Mets RF Mike Baxter made a nifty catch while sliding into foul ground. ... Mets 1B coach Mookie Wilson has left the team for the rest of the season after the death of his sister. Wally Backman coached in his place, wearing No. 86 - he was part of the Mets' championship team in 1986.

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