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Catastrophic Success: Phillies 5, Mets 4

They came thisclose to *it* happening again: up 4-0 heading into the 8th, the Phillies saw the Mets get two runs in each of the last two innings, and it was only by virtue of their own additional run scored in the bottom of the eighth that the Phils and shaky-as-ever Brad Lidge got away with a 5-4 win. 

For the first seven innings, the story was very different: Kyle Kendrick's implausibly great return to the major leagues after a year in triple-A trying to learn a changeup. Kendrick announced his presence with authority, striking out the side in the first inning; he wouldn't get another K all day, but induced ground out after ground out from a frustrated Mets lineup through 7.1 innings of work. Meanwhile, the Phils scored a first-inning run against Mets starter John Maine, making his first start since June, and added three more against reliever Tobi Stoner on a Ben Francisco solo shot in the fourth and Shane Victorino two-run homer an inning later.

Otherwise, the Phils continued their struggles with runners in scoring position, stranding eight runners on the day. But they finally did get a hit in a key spot after the Mets drew within 4-2 on Anderson Hernandez's two-run homer off Kendrick.  With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, against reliever Lance Broadway, pinch-hitter Matt Stairs doubled. With Eric Bruntlett running for Stairs, pinch-hitter Andy Tracy followed with a run-scoring single to stretch the Phils' lead to 5-2.

They needed it, as Lidge immediately allowed a single to Jeff Francoeur, who took second on defensive indifference. Lidge got pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran to ground out, but Mets rookie Josh Thole drove in Francoeur with his fourth hit of the day. He took second as well, and after Lidge struck out Luis Castillo on an outside fastball, came around to score on a Jeremy Reed single. Finally, Lidge ended it by striking out Angel Pagan on a slider--earning his 29th save, and making all of us hate the save stat anew.