In their first four games at Citi Field this season, the Phillies scored a grand total of zero runs and, of course, lost all four games. In their next two, they scored seven combined and won them both. Tonight, they scored eight and turned aside the Mets once again. I think that means we'll score 16 tomorrow.
The Phils did their scoring through big hits and small, scratching out two runs in the top of the second on a Carlos Ruiz single and a Wilson Valdez double play in which Ruiz avoided the tag long enough for Raul Ibanez, whose fly ball Mets rookie outfielder Lucas Duda misplayed into a double, to come home. Two innings later, trailing 3-2, they evened the score on a Ryan Howard line-drive homer to left-center--the third straight game in which the Big Piece reached the seats--then plated three more on five singles. Jayson Werth followed Howard's homer by stroking the ball back through the middle, almost beheading Mets starter Jennry Mejia; after an Ibanez flyout, Ruiz singled to center and Valdez reached on a swinging bunt that loaded the bases. That brought up pitcher Roy Halladay, who hacked at Mejia's first pitch and chopped it over the pitcher's glove and past second baseman Luis Hernandez, scoring Werth and Ruiz. Shane Victorino followed with a single to bring Valdez home, and the Phils led 6-3.
That proved enough for Halladay, who looked shaky as the Mets scored three in the third--on a Mejia single, a Jose Reyes double and a Carlos Beltran two-run homer--and had to work around a single and hit batter in the fourth. For the next three innings, however, he locked in, allowing only an infield single to Josh Thole. Halladay ultimately went 7 2/3 innings, departing after Ike Davis doubled with two outs in the eighth, allowing eight hits and no walks, and striking out five to give him 201 for the season. Chad Durbin and Regular Ryan Madson secured the last four outs without too much drama.
The win was Doc's 18th of the season, tying him with the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals for the NL lead. It also improved his mark against NL East opponents to a sterling 11-1 on the season, including 4-0 against the Mets.
I'd be remiss not to mention two more things: that Chase Utley smacked a seventh-inning solo homer off Raul Valdes perhaps fifteen feet to the left of the foul pole--the part of Citi Field affectionately known to Phillies fans as Utley's Corner--and that the win improves the team's record to 82-60, ensuring the eighth straight winning season for a franchise that's known all too few of those through its long history.
Kyle Kendrick faces Mike Pelfrey as the series continues at 4 on Saturday afternoon with the TV cameras rolling.