By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead homer with two outs
in the ninth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied to beat
the New York Mets 3-2 on Wednesday night, adding a dramatic victory
to their late-season playoff push.
Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff home run but the Phillies went into
the ninth with only two hits. Chase Utley worked a two-out walk
against rookie Josh Edgin (1-2), filling in for ailing Mets closer
Frank Francisco, and Howard launched a 93 mph fastball off the
facing of the second deck in right field to give his team a 3-2
The big slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base and
Phillies players broke into a happy frenzy on the bench. It was
Howard’s 11th homer in an injury-shortened season and first since
Trying for a last-gasp postseason charge after a miserable first
half, the surging Phillies (75-74) won for the 10th time in 13
games. They began the day four games behind St. Louis for the
second NL wild-card spot _ with three other teams in between.
Cole Hamels equaled a season high with 10 strikeouts over six
innings and left trailing 2-1. Philadelphia’s young bullpen kept it
close, and Jeremy Horst (2-0) got Andres Torres to ground into an
inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon worked a one-hit ninth for his 36th save in 40
The punchless Mets wasted a splendid outing from Matt Harvey,
who finished his rookie season with a flourish. David Wright hit a
solo homer but the Mets (66-82) dropped their eighth straight home
game and 24th in the last 28 at Citi Field.
This one guaranteed them a fourth consecutive losing season,
despite a 46-40 first half.
New York has lost four in a row and 10 of 11 overall. The Mets
have managed three runs or fewer in a team-record 15 straight home
games since a 6-5 win over Atlanta on Aug. 12 at Citi Field.
The previous major league club to score three runs or fewer in
more consecutive home games was Seattle, which went 16 in a row in
Harvey struck out seven and did not allow a hit after Rollins’
home run in the latest eye-catching performance of his promising
season. This one was the last, too. The prized right-hander,
drafted seventh overall in 2010, will be shut down after 10 major
league starts to protect his 24-year-old arm.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)