A First on the Fourth
By BEN WALKER AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Cliff Lee finally posted his first win of the
season and the Philadelphia Phillies hit three late homers,
breaking past the New York Mets 9-2 Wednesday and stopping a
six-game losing streak.
Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the
seventh inning as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty
Wigginton’s two-run homer in the ninth capped the surge.
Lee (1-5) had gone a puzzling 13 starts this year without a
victory, a big reason the five-time NL East champions have fallen
far behind. The lefty ace hadn’t been awful, nor had he been
Facing the Mets for the fourth time this season, Lee came out
sharp and struck out three of the first four batters. He wound up
going eight innings and struck out nine, most of them looking.
Lee’s drought was the longest by a former Cy Young winner since
Greg Maddux went 14 starts without a win in 2008 with San Diego _
the worst skid for a Cy winner was 19 starts by Fernando Valenzuela
in 1988-89, STATS LLC said.
Lee seemed as if he might wind up loss column again after the
Phillies managed just two singles in the first six innings against
Chris Young (2-2). Juan Pierre led off the seventh with a sharp
single and Utley followed with a tying drive into the right-field
seats, his second homer since missing nearly three months because
of knee trouble.
Ruiz, set to play in his first All-Star game, then put the
Phillies ahead with his 13th home run.
Philadelphia pulled away with a three-run eighth against the
Mets’ bullpen. Jimmy Rollins doubled home a run, Ruiz hit an RBI
single and Wigginton hustled home from second on Hunter Pence’s
single off shortstop Ruben Tejada’s glove. Rollins added an RBI
grounder and Wigginton homered in the ninth.
A day after routing the Phillies 11-1, the Mets lost for the
second time in seven games. Philadelphia also managed to stop its
seven-game road losing streak.
Scott Hairston put the Mets ahead with a solo homer in the
fourth, lining an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall. As Hairston
rounded the bases, Lee scuffed at the dirt and looked out toward
center field, where a replay of the pitch was playing on the
The Mets, as they’ve done all season, strung together some
two-hits and made it 2-0 in the fifth. David Wright drove in the
run with a single.
NOTES: Pierre stole his 20th base, the 12th straight year he’s
reached the mark. His 574th career swipe tied Hugh Duffy for 22nd
place. … Daniel Murphy was hit in the left leg by Hairston’s hard
grounder while leading off third base in foul territory. … Mets
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis didn’t play. He was a late scratch from the
lineup the previous day after hurting his right hand while swinging
in batting practice. He said his hand was feeling better Wednesday.
… Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey goes for his 11th straight win
on Thursday night vs. Phillies LHP Cole Hamels. Dickey leads the
majors with 12 victories and could start the All-Star game next
Tuesday. … Phillies 1B Ryan Howard (left Achilles) was set to
have a day off with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in his rehabilitation
assignment. He homered Tuesday night. … Miss America Laura
Kaeppeler sang the national anthem, wearing her crown and a Mets
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)