Phillies move closer to first

NEW YORK (AP) - September 7, 2008 Facing the first-place Mets for the sixth time this season, the 45-year-old Moyer allowed only a surprise bunt single by Robinson Cancel and an infield hit by Damion Easley over seven shutout innings.

New York was scoreless for 16 innings in the series before breaking through for two runs in the eighth against Scott Eyre, but it came too late.

Looking to leave town tied for first place, the Phillies send Cole Hamels to the mound in the nightcap. Johan Santana gets the ball for the Mets in a pressure-packed matchup of left-handed aces. Philadelphia swept a three-game series at Shea Stadium last September, beginning its big comeback to overtake the collapsing Mets and win the division title.

The onus is on Santana, acquired from Minnesota last offseason and signed to a $137.5 million, six-year contract, to prevent another costly sweep against the Phillies.

After Brett Myers pitched Philadelphia to a 3-0 victory Friday night, Moyer (13-7) also was on top of his game when his team needed it.

Using his typical array of soft stuff and dashing out to the mound for warmup pitches even before the Mets lumbered off the field, he walked three and outpitched an ineffective Martinez (5-4) in the makeup of Saturday's rainout.

Philadelphia improved to 7-10 against the Mets this season. The Phillies won the final eight matchups last year.

Moyer's 243rd win tied him with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for 50th on the career list. The lefty is 6-1 with a 2.97 ERA in his past 12 starts. Now 2-1 against the Mets this year, he has pitched at least six innings in 19 of his 20 career starts versus New York.

Martinez lasted only four innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. He felt stiffness during his previous start, a win at Florida, and returned to New York to work out while the Mets completed a 6-2 road trip with a three-game sweep in Milwaukee. The 36-year-old right-hander entered 2-0 in five starts since losing 4-2 to San Diego on Aug. 6.

Martinez walked Jayson Werth on four pitches in the second and Dobbs doubled over the head of right fielder Fernando Tatis. After Matt Stairs' sacrifice fly, Martinez made a key mistake. With first base open and the pitcher on deck, the three-time Cy Young Award winner gave up a two-out RBI single to Carlos Ruiz, who had three hits.

Ryan Howard doubled leading off the fourth and went to third on Werth's single before Dobbs drove an 0-1 pitch to right for his eighth homer. He also had a two-run shot in the series opener and is 9-for-25 (.360) with three home runs and eight RBIs against the Mets this year.

Ruiz doubled and scored on Jimmy Rollins' pop-fly double that dropped between shortstop Jose Reyes and left fielder Nick Evans as they struggled to track it in the sun.

Moyer and Martinez both were touched up when they squared off Aug. 26 in Philadelphia, a game the Phillies won 8-7 in 13 innings after rallying from a seven-run deficit.

Notes: Mets closer Billy Wagner (elbow) was slated for another bullpen session Sunday. If all goes well and he's cleared by doctors afterward, he'll probably face hitters in a simulated game sometime in the next few days. Then, he could be activated from the disabled list this week. "I feel like I'm as good as I'm going to get," Wagner said. "It's really not about what I feel comfortable with, it's what they feel comfortable with." ... The Phillies designated LHP R.J. Swindle for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for reserve INF Tadahito Iguchi, who was signed on Friday. ... Moyer improved to 8-4 lifetime against the Mets. ... It was Philadelphia's first doubleheader since getting swept at home by the Mets on June 29, 2007. The last time the teams played a twinbill at Shea Stadium, the Phillies won both games on Sept. 28, 1992.

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