Howard, Rollins lead Phillies Past Mets
The old guard took care of this one for the Phillies — with both their bats and their brains.
Ryan Howard had four hits, including a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning, and Jimmy Rollins homered and scored four times to lead Philadelphia past the slumping New York Mets 5-4 on Saturday night.
Chase Utley drove in two runs for the Phillies, who have won the first two games of the series against their NL East foes after dropping four straight to Toronto.
Rollins, Utley and Howard, the All-Star core of Phillies teams that won five straight division titles and a World Series championship from 2007-11, combined to go 9 for 12 with four RBIs.
“Yeah, it felt good. It felt like old times out there,” Howard said. “If we can get everybody going all at the same time, it’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
David Wright hit his first home run since opening day, ending the longest drought of his career, and had three RBIs. But the Mets wasted another great chance to score in the late innings, losing their season-worst fifth straight and eighth in nine games.
Following some confusion in the eighth, Philadelphia reliever Mike Adams (2-1) escaped a major jam by retiring pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu on a bases-loaded comebacker to keep it tied.
“Obviously, I had to make him swing the bat,” Adams said. “I threw a two-seamer that ran down and made him hit my pitch.”
With runners on second and third earlier in the inning, the Phillies held a meeting at the mound and threw an intentional ball to Eric Campbell in his second major league plate appearance.
That’s when Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz noticed the 40-year-old Abreu, cut by Philadelphia near the end of spring training, getting ready in the dugout.
Utley and Ruiz persuaded Adams to go after Campbell before Abreu had a chance to bat.
“We decided to change our minds,” Utley said. “We saw him coming up there. We try to see everything, but we don’t always.”
Adams said the chat pumped him up, and Utley is “always on top of it.”
The intentional walk was called off and Campbell eventually took strike three.
“That was pretty neat to watch,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Rollins drew a two-out walk from Kyle Farnsworth (0-3) in the ninth and went to third on Utley’s single. Howard followed with a line-drive single to center.
Jonathan Papelbon worked a hitless ninth for his 11th save in 12 chances. With a runner on second, he retired Wright on a foul popup to end it.
A frustrated Wright held his bat above his head most of the way back to the dugout, then lingered on an otherwise empty bench for a few minutes with the lumber still in his hand.
“The frustrating part is losing,” Wright said. “An inning here, an inning there is costing us multiple games over the last few weeks.”
After the start was delayed 39 minutes by rain, the Phillies wasted no time jumping on Dillon Gee, who had a 7.46 ERA in nine previous starts against them.
Philadelphia began the game with consecutive singles and a stolen base before Utley’s sacrifice fly ended Gee’s career-best scoreless streak at 16 innings. Domonic Brown blooped an RBI single, but Gee dodged additional damage when Cody Asche lined out with the bases loaded.
Wright tied it with a two-run shot on an 0-2 pitch from Kyle Kendrick, snapping a streak of 136 at-bats without a homer since March 31 against Washington.
“I don’t build my game around hitting home runs, so it wasn’t too much of a monkey at all,” Wright said.
Rollins homered off the facing of the second deck in right to put Philadelphia ahead 3-2 in the second.
Kendrick retired 14 of 15 batters after Wright’s long ball and took a two-hitter into the sixth, when he walked leadoff man Juan Lagares. Daniel Murphy singled and Wright plopped an RBI double into right field, just beyond a diving Marlon Byrd.
Campbell, with his parents taking pictures in the stands, was sent up to pinch-hit for his big league debut. He gave the Mets a 4-3 lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly against lefty reliever Jake Diekman — and was all smiles while receiving a high-five from Murphy and congratulations in the dugout.
“It was a real up and down day,” Campbell said.
Rollins legged out an infield single in the seventh and advanced on Scott Rice’s wild pitch. Utley doubled off the center-field fence to tie it at 4.
NOTES: Kendrick, hurt by poor run support, is 0-8 in 14 starts since beating the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 6 last season. … Howard is 9 for 18 against Gee with six homers and 14 RBIs. Rollins is 11 for 22. … Ben Revere made a terrific, tumbling catch in deep center to rob Travis d’Arnaud of extra bases. … LHP Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.02 ERA) will try again for his 100th career win when he makes his fourth start of the season Sunday in the series finale against LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 1.82). Hamels was hit hard in a 6-1 loss to Niese at home on April 29 and is 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA in 27 starts against New York.
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