After yesterday's freaktacular 9-7 win over the Mets at Citi Field, the Phillies were looking for a more conventional and relaxing win to close out their four-game visit to Flushing. After some early weirdness, that's exactly what they got, with Ryan Howard's power and Cliff Lee's poise leading the way to a 6-2 win.
For the second straight afternoon, the Phils played longball to take an early lead. After Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked, Howard took a 2-2 fastball from Mets starter Bobby Parnell out to left-center and a quick 3-0 advantage. Two innings later, with Jayson Werth on first, Howard got Parnell again with a second-deck smash to right. That was it for the Phils until the ninth, when doubles by Utley and Raul Ibanez added an insurance run.
Lee shook off the worst defensive play of Utley's career in the bottom of the first. Angel Pagan, who started yesterday's game with an inside-the-park home run, popped up to shallow right field. Utley settled under it with two hands--but the ball squirted out of his glove for an error. He committed a second miscue on the play with a wild throw toward second base that eluded Eric Bruntlett and headed toward the left-field foul line; by the time Ibanez retrieved the ball, Pagan was circling the bases with a "Little League home run." The Mets added another run in the inning on a Gary Sheffield triple and Fernando Tatis sac fly, but Lee held them off the rest of the way to finish with seven innings, six hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts. He's now 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA in five starts since joining the Phillies late last month.
The club heads to Pittsburgh for a three-game set with the Pirates starting Tuesday night. Joe Blanton will face Ross Ohlendorf in the series opener.