Major league baseball, and the rest of us, paused today to remember the horror and tragedy of a beautiful Tuesday morning eight years ago. The day the World Trade Center towers fell, the Phillies were in their first pennant race in nearly a decade, and the Mets, defending NL champions, were trying to charge back into the race on a searing late-summer streak. But the stadiums stayed silent for days afterward as a stunned nation collected itself. Today, under light rain that seemed appropriate for remembrance, the teams did so by wearing their commemorative caps and pausing for "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.
Still without most of their best hitters as they limp toward the end of a nightmarish season, the Mets could not do very much against Cole Hamels. Through 6 2/3 innings, Hamels held New York to a run on seven hits and a walk, striking out six; only Jeff Francoeur, eternal thorn in the Phillies' side, was particularly effective with three hits in three trips against him. But the visitors hung around, as the Phils once again flailed with runners in scoring position, stranding an unfathomable 12 through the first six innings and allowing ex-Phillie Nelson Figueroa to escape with two runs allowed despite surrendering nine hits, five walks, and a hit batsman.
The Phils finally created some breathing room with single runs in the seventh and eighth, on a Carlos Ruiz sac fly and windblown Chase Utley double, respectively, stretching what had been a 2-1 lead to 4-1. Heading into the ninth, Charlie Manuel could have left in Brett Myers, who had thrown just six pitches in getting the Mets in order in the eighth; instead, he called upon new closer-in-all-but-name Ryan Madson. Madson promptly surrendered a double to Omir Santos and a pinch-single to Jeremy Reed, bringing the tying run to the plate. But he got a double play ball from Cory Sullivan, on which a run scored, and then induced a game ending grounder from Angel Pagan to wrap up his seventh save.