The New York Mets are on the cusp of their most successful season against the Philadelphia Phillies in four years, and sweeping this three-game set will mark their longest winning streak over them in 41 years.
Lucas Duda looks to continue his offensive barrage in Philadelphia, where the Mets go for a sixth win in a row over the Phillies on Thursday.
New York (61-69) is 10-4 against Philadelphia (61-69) - its best single-season record against the NL East rival since going 11-7 in 2008.
The Mets' success this year has been aided by winning seven of eight at Citizens Bank Park, including five in a row after winning 3-2 on Wednesday.
They haven't won six straight at Philadelphia since June 28-Sept. 4, 1971 - the Phillies' inaugural season at Veterans Stadium.
Duda could play a part in helping New York match that run. The right fielder is hitting .400 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games at Citizens Bank Park, and has two hits and three RBIs in this series.
He provided the difference Wednesday with a two-run homer, his first since July 6 and in three games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.
"Just getting used to it again," said Duda, who was batting .138 with one homer and two RBIs in 19 games before being sent to the minors.
It would seem Duda and the Mets are in a favorable position to sweep their second consecutive three-game series at Philadelphia since Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12) is scheduled to take the mound.
The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA in his last seven games - three starts - at home against New York, and was hit hard in his most recent matchup May 9. He surrendered five runs with two walks while hitting another batter in just over an inning of relief to get charged with a 10-6 loss.
Kendrick, though, has been terrific of late, and a victory against the Mets would give him a career-high four straight winning starts. He has a 0.83 ERA during his win streak and was impressive again in Friday's 4-2 win over Washington, allowing two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
"When he gets in a good rhythm, he moves the tempo and is in control of the game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He can command the ball about where he wants to. He's relaxed more and his confidence is big.
"He's always had to fight to survive. He's proved he can pitch."
Kendrick is trying to prove he's worthy of a regular place in the Phillies rotation in 2012.
"That's not my call," Kendrick said. "I just try go out there and give us a chance to win."
The Mets are scheduled to turn to Jonathon Niese (10-7, 3.51), who's 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts against the Phillies this year and 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two road appearances.
The left-hander also has won his last two road starts, yielding one run and eight hits with 12 strikeouts in 14 1-3 innings.
He wasn't nearly as sharp at home Friday, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings in a 3-1 loss to Houston.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is hitting .356 versus the Mets this year, but is 2 for 13 with four strikeouts against Niese.
|New York Mets|
|August 18, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|August 15, 2012||Rob Johnson||15-Day DL||Torn ligament, left thumb|
|August 02, 2012||Tim Byrdak||15-Day DL||Sore left shoulder|
|July 31, 2012||Andres Torres||Day-to-Day||Strained right thumb|
|July 31, 2012||Jason Bay||Day-to-Day||Bruised left calf|
|July 21, 2012||Johan Santana||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|August 29, 2012||Cole Hamels||Day-to-Day||Gastrointestinal illness|
|August 29, 2012||Vance Worley||15-Day DL||Loose bodies in right elbow|
|August 28, 2012||Domonic Brown||Day-to-Day||Left game - left knee soreness|
|August 24, 2012||Brian Schneider||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|August 13, 2012||Nate Schierholtz||15-Day DL||Fractured right big toe|
|August 03, 2012||Carlos Ruiz||15-Day DL||Plantar fasciitis, left foot|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jimmy Rollins ' latest jog toward first earned him a spot where he won't have to hustle.
On the bench.
Rollins was benched after a pair of baserunning blunders Thursday in Philadelphia's 3-2 win over the New York Mets . It was the second time in two weeks the 2007 NL MVP was scolded for not hustling on the basepaths.
Rollins was pulled for the start of the seventh inning after a pair of mistakes in the sixth.
He failed to run hard on a dropped popup that could have put him on second base. He stole second base, then was caught in a rundown on a grounder and was tagged out.
Rollins drew the ire of Phillies fans earlier this month when he jogged down the line on a grounder in a game at Milwaukee. He met privately with manager Charlie Manuel the next day. Manuel refused to bench his All-Star shortstop then. He had no hesitation against the Mets.
Manuel said Rollins' missing hustle was a poor reflection on the franchise.
"My frustration grows any time I see anybody not hustle," Manuel said. "It grows if I see the other team not hustle."
Manuel declined to say if Rollins would start Friday at Atlanta.
Manuel talked to Rollins about the blunder in the dugout. Manuel did not expound on Rollins' response.
"He already told you what happened. There you go," Rollins said as he left the clubhouse.
Manuel, who led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series title, said he has only two rules: Be on time. Hustle.
"You want guys to be able to go out and hustle," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "He knows better. He knows better. It's simple, be on time, hustle. That's it. That's two things that you can control. Go out there and do it. Charlie took care of it."
Kyle Kendrick (8-9) allowed solo homers in the first two innings to Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston , but did not permit another run before leaving with two outs in the eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 30th save as the Phillies avoided a three-game sweep.
Kendrick retired 13 straight starting in the fourth inning and won his fourth straight start. Kendrick has more wins than Cliff Lee (3) and as many as Roy Halladay (8). Kendrick struck out six and walked none.
"He stayed right in there and toughed it out," Manuel said.
Rollins got fans talking after his latest baserunning gaffes. He popped up, put his head down and appeared to be making a turn toward the dugout until pitcher Jonathon Niese dropped the ball for an error and Rollins dashed to first.
With Kendrick on third and Rollins on second, Kevin Frandsen hit a grounder to second. Rollins took off for third with Kendrick staying on the base and was tagged out.
It was the latest blunder in a disappointing season for the Phillies. Rollins has been chewed out and benched by Manuel in the past for not hustling. When he did it twice in one inning, Manuel saw enough and yanked him.
The Phillies are far removed from the franchise that won the last five NL East titles. Their lineup against Niese (10-8) seemed more appropriate for spring training. Ty Wigginton in left and Michael Martinez in right were the starting corner outfielders. Catcher Steven Lerud made his major league debut and Frandsen started at third.
Frandsen had four hits and is trying to force himself into position to start in 2013.
Kendrick left to a standing ovation with runners on first and second in the eighth.
Raul Valdes needed one pitch to retire Ike Davis on a grounder.
Baxter connected on the second pitch of the game for his first career leadoff homer. Hairston hit a solo shot, his 15th, in the second.
Frandsen had an RBI single in the third and Wigginton tied it with a double in the fourth. Ryan Howard 's sacrifice fly in the fifth put the Phillies up 3-2.
Niese gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings.
He said he took his eye off of Rollins' popup.
"It's got to be somebody's ball," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "There's got to be somebody taking charge. Nobody was policing it."
Lerud's bloop single in the fourth was his first career hit after nine years in the minors. The 27-year-old catcher was originally Pittsburgh's third-round draft pick in 2003. He bounced around before getting the call when Brian Schneider went on the disabled list.
"The more nerve-wracking part was wondering even two weeks ago if I was ever going to get here," Lerud said. "I think it was more of a relief when I was finally out there and playing in a big league ballgame."
Lerud gave the ball from his first hit to his mother, who burst into tears. Phillies rookie pitcher Tyler Cloyd said Wednesday night he heard his dad cry on the phone for the first time when he was called up to the majors.
NOTES: Phillies INF Hector Luna was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency. The Phillies are now at 39 players on the 40-man roster. ... The Phillies are 2-7 at home against the Mets this season. ... Papelpon has 30-plus saves in each of his last seven seasons. ... The Mets bullpen has pitched 16 1-3 scoreless innings.