It was opposite night in Philadelphia, as Pedro Feliz, Eric Bruntlett and Ryan Howard proved crucial late in the Phillies’ 5-4 win against the Mets. Though the Mets took the series, 2-1, the Phils finish their homestand on a high note and can breathe a bit easier tonight.
Feliz, pinch hitting for Greg Dobbs, smacked the game-winning home run off Pedro Feliciano in the seventh inning. Bruntlett made a fantastic diving stop on the grounder that ended the game, saving it for Brad Lidge. Howard made more than a couple fine defensive plays despite two RBI opportunities that ended in outs.
Chase Utley came up big again, nailing a first-inning homer and blasting another in the fifth for four RBI. He has hit five homers in the last four games and has eight on the year, tops in the Majors. Early MVP favorite, for sure.
Adam Eaton was almost flawless through five, but couldn’t get an out in the sixth as the Mets figured out his technique. Four runs scored on his time. Chad Durbin gave up an inherited run on a Ryan Church single, but got out of the sixth without further damage. JC Romero pitched two strong innings for the hold.
It was gut-check time for the Phils, and they delivered this time around. The defense was much improved, with Bruntlett and Howard coming up big. Though they didn’t quite get the job done with runners in scoring position, Utley was enough to carry the load. Charlie Manuel made a great move bringing in Feliz against Feliciano â€” against a lefty, the homer-happy Mr. Happy did exactly what was asked. Give kudos to the bullpen again for holding down the fort â€” Romero latched it down and escaped a potentially terrible situation with So Taguchi blundering a diving grab; Lidge settled down after a walk and infield single.
And finally, it was nice to see the Mets coming up short in big situations. David Wright’s foul pop that Howard valiantly stayed with and caught was something out of the Phils’ playbook. Opposite night at the Vault, indeed.
Associated Press photo