NEW YORK (AP) -When
saw New York reliever
come out to pitch the ninth inning instead of starter
, he went straight to the batting tee to stay loose.
It didn't matter that he was due up sixth and the
trailed by three runs. He thought they had a chance.
The ever optimistic NL MVP was right.
Philadelphia feasted on New York's makeshift bullpen for six runs with Wagner unavailable because of an injury, and Rollins
hit a go-ahead two-run double to help the Phillies to an 8-6 victory Tuesday night to take back sole possession of first place
in the NL East.
''It started last year,'' Rollins said, referring to the Phillies' comeback from seven games behind the Mets with 17 to play
to win the division. ''You never give up.''
The teams entered the three-game series tied for first after the Mets trailed the Phillies by 5 1/2 games on July 4. The
are tied with New York, one game back.
After Santana pitched eight dominant innings, the Mets had to make do without Wagner, who has muscle spasms around his left
said Wagner's availability would be a midgame decision based on how the left-hander felt. But after batting practice he was
told it would be better if Wagner took another day off.
''After seeing that, you can't help feeling that you want to be out there,'' said Wagner, who has 24 saves in 30 chances.
''A lot of different things might have happened if I was out there. I'd rather be the guy standing here taking the blame instead
of letting my teammates suck on this one.''
Manuel turned to Sanchez, a setup man, and he gave up three straight hits to start the ninth.
(1-2) relieved and
drove in a run with a high bouncer that shortstop
fielded but missed stepping on second base instead of flipping to
''His mistake was not giving the ball up,'' said Rollins, a fellow shortstop. ''He already made the highlights by making the
hustled into second to prevent the first out of the inning.
''Big play of the game was Victorino beating the ball down to second base,'' said Phillies manager
, who was ejected in the third inning. ''That's why we talk about hustle.''
relieved and pinch-hitter
, who was 0-for-16 coming in, stroked a two-run double to tie it.
Rollins followed with a double that made it 7-5. After an intentional walk to
hit a ball back to Feliciano but he had trouble fielding it and could only get one out allowing another run to score.
(3-2) pitched a perfect eighth, and
gave up a run in the ninth but finished for his 22nd save in as many chances.
The Phillies, who entered hitting just .248 over the last 13 games when they went 6-7, could have had a much bigger deficit
to make up had they not made two big defensive plays in the seventh.
''I guess we could put the whole notion of not getting timely hitting away for a day,'' Manuel said.
at home on a hit by
, and second baseman
made a diving grab of pinch-hitter
' liner with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The last time Santana faced the Phillies on July 4, he gave up two runs in eight innings but the Mets lost 3-2. On Tuesday,
he allowed an RBI single to Werth in the first and Victorino's homer in the seventh after he retired 15 of 16 batters. He
had four strikeouts, including the 1,500th of his career.
said he might have let Santana start the ninth if he hadn't given up a double to Burrell in the eighth.
The Mets took a 5-1 lead against
's 450th career homer, a two-run shot, Raul Castro's two-run homer and Wright's RBI double in the second - Chavez was thrown
out at home on a nice relay started by left fielder Burrell.
Blanton was making his first start for the Phillies since being acquired from Oakland last week to solidify a shaky rotation.
He took the spot of
, who was 3-8 with a 5.71 ERA.
Blanton came in having thrown 15 shutout innings against the Mets in two starts for the A's and he looked as if he were pitching
to form until he walked Reyes on four pitches to open the third. He gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings.
was ejected by umpire Marty Foster after the third inning when he went to ask Foster why he tossed coach Milt Thomson after
Thomson disputed a checked-swing call by the third base umpire. Thomson yelled at Foster from the bench after he ruled Delgado
did not go around on the swing before his homer. It was Manuel's third ejection this season.
Notes: The Mets announced the start of their greatest moments at Shea Stadium promotion Tuesday. Fans can go online to select
their 10 favorite moments at the stadium, which is closing after 45 seasons. On Aug. 15, the Mets and sponsor Nikon will trim
a list of 75 moments - not all baseball related - to 10, then fans will vote on their favorite. The top 10, in ascending order
of popularity will be revealed during the final homestand, Sept. 22-26.