June 9, 2009: Mets Outslug Phils in Home Run Battle

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Date: June 9. 2009
Mets starter: Johan Santana
Mets: 6
Phillies: 5
Winning pitcher: Johan Santana
Key player(s): Johan Santana, Alex Cora, Ryan Church
Key play: Mets’ and Phils’ homers, Santana’s double, Cora’s single

The Mets and Phillies began a three-game series on a Tuesday night at Citi Field.The teams collected ten hits each and combined for seven home runs. At the end of the slugging battle, the Mets had come out with a 6-5 victory over Philadelphia.

Johan Santana and the Phils’ J. A. Happ each started the game by pitching a perfect first inning. In the top of the second, Santana struck out Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez before retiring Jimmy Rollins on a pop-up to shortstop Alex Cora. A one-out homer by David Wright gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the bottom half. Happ issued two walks, but set down the next two batters to end the inning. Santana then retired three straight Phillies after a leadoff double by Pedro Feliz in the top of the third.

Cora doubled off Happ with one out in the bottom of the third inning. An ensuing home run by Carlos Beltran extended the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Gary Sheffield drew a walk and went to third base on Wright’s double. An intentional walk to Fernando Tatis loaded the bases for the Mets. Happ then got Ryan Church to fly out to right fielder Jayson Werth and retired Omir Santos on an inning-ending pop-up to second baseman Chase Utley.

In the top of the fourth, Santana started the inning by retiring Utley and Werth on infield ground balls. Howard and Ibanez followed with back-to-back homers for the Phils’ first two runs of the game. Rollins singled to left field and Feliz flied out to center fielder Beltran to end the inning. Happ set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half. The Phillies failed to score against Santana despite Shane Victorino’s two-out single in the top of the fifth. The Mets were then shut down by Happ in the bottom of the inning.

Werth singled to center field to open the top of the sixth. Howard flied out to left fielder Sheffield and a pop-up by Ibanez was caught by third baseman Wright. Rollins hit a two-run homer to put the Phils ahead, 4-3. Santana then got Feliz on a pop-up to first baseman Tatis that ended the inning.

Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Tatis hit a double to center field. Fernando advanced to third on an error by catcher Carlos Ruiz, but was thrown out at home on Church’s grounder by first baseman Howard. Against Philadelphia reliever Clay Condrey, Santos singled to send Church to second. Santana’s ensuing double plated Ryan to tie the game. Luis Castillo popped out to shortstop Rollins and a single by Cora brought home Santos for a 5-4 Mets lead. Beltran was walked intentionally to load the bases. Condrey then struck out Sheffield to end the inning.

Santana pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Facing reliever Chad Durbin in the bottom of the inning, Church homered with two outs to make the score 6-4. Durbin retired Santos on a grounder to Rollins to close out the inning. Utley hit a home run (the game’s seventh) to lead off the top of the eighth. Werth singled off Mets’ reliever Bobby Parnell to put the tying run on base. Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel then brought in left-hander Pedro Feliciano to pitch to Howard.

Feliciano got Howard to hit a ground ball to second baseman Castillo for a double play. Ibanez grounded to Castillo to end the inning. For Philadelphia, J. C. Romero pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth. Rollins began the top of the ninth with a single off reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Feliz struck out and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs hit a force play grounder to Castillo. With the Mets only an out away from victory, Greg Dobbs came up to pinch-hit for Romero.

Rodriguez got Dobbs on a called third strike for the final out of the game. The Mets had triumphed in a battle of home runs. The win put the Mets only two games behind the division-leading Phillies in the National League East.