On Tuesday when the opposition chose to pitch to him rather than
Utley, the much-maligned Howard delivered a walk-off single for a
On Sunday, the scenario played out again, and Howard came through
In the ninth inning of a tie game, Utley was handed a free pass with
a runner on second and two outs. And just like last time, Howard
made the opposition pay, lining a game-winning single to give the
Philadelphia Phillies a 7-6 victory over the New York Mets at
Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies crawled all the way back from a 6-1 deficit to snap the
Mets' five-game winning streak at Citizens Bank Park.
"My confidence has always been there," Howard said. "It's one of
those things. It was pretty much to be expected. Chase had three
hits in the game. Three RBIs. Winning run in scoring position, yeah.
I don't have any hits. Who are you going to face? Are you going to
face the guy with three hits or the guy with no hits?"
Howard read Mets manager Terry Collins' mind.
"Number one, you've got to make a great pitch to (Utley)," Collins
said. "I'm not going to let him beat me. Howard's been struggling.
You've got to make him beat you. In my book, that's the way I look
Howard did the job, then was tackled by teammates in celebration.
"It was a combination of (Cody Asche), who went down, and I fell on
him when (Domonic Brown) got there," Howard said. "Yes, a little
If New York closer Jenrry Mejia (5-5) had his way, he would have
gone after Utley.
"I want to finish, but I'm not the manager," Mejia said after
blowing a 6-5 lead by allowing three hits and two runs while
recording two outs in the ninth. "I have to do whatever the manager
wants me to do. Nothing I can do. A little bit surprised, but I
can't do anything. Terry Collins is the manager. I'm just the
player. I have to do whatever he wants me to do."
In his past four appearances, Mejia is 0-2 with a blown save and
9.84 ERA. After the game, he admitted he is pitching through a
hernia injury that will require surgery after the season.
"Doctors say if it bothers me too much to let them fix it, but I
don't want to let them know because I want to keep pitching," Mejia
said. "I keep trying and throw my ball normal. It doesn't affect me.
"(Doctors) gave me some pills and some medication. If I don't feel
normal, too much pain, they're going to make an operation. But I
want to keep pitching. I want to take some pills and keep pitching.
I think I can keep going. I'm ready to go."
Entering Sunday, New York (56-62) won 11 of its last 12 at Citizens
Bank Park, so the last-place Phillies were certainly due.
"The guys are going to continue to fight and battle," Philadelphia
manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We came up a little short (Saturday
night), but to come back and fight back, we talked about playing
with character and pride, not only that, it's more fun and it
creates some excitement."
With Philadelphia (53-65) trailing 6-5 entering the ninth, third
baseman Asche hit a leadoff double, and he scored the tying run on
pinch hitter Marlon Byrd's single.
[to top of second column]
Reliever Ken Giles (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his first
major league win.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched six innings of three-run, three-hit
ball but earned a no-decision. Wheeler is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his
past eight starts.
Wheeler's offense gave him plenty of support, scoring six runs (five
earned) on 10 hits in five innings off Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick.
Right fielder Curtis Granderson, third baseman David Wright, catcher
Travis d'Arnaud, left fielder Matt den Dekker and center fielder Juan
Lagares all delivered multi-hit games and scored five of the Mets' six
New York's 6-1 lead was trimmed to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning
before Utley cut it to 6-5 with a two-run triple in the seventh.
Utley went 3-for-4 and finished a double shy of the cycle.
Howard was 0-for-4 before becoming the hero.
"He's been in those situations before as far as big moments, driving in
runs, getting RBIs," Sandberg said of Howard. "Once again, the right guy
at the right place."
If only the Mets knew.
NOTES: The walk-off win was the Phillies' seventh of the season. ...
Mets 1B Lucas Duda and C Travis d'Arnaud hit back-to-back solo home runs
in the fifth inning. ... Mets RHP Jacob deGrom will miss scheduled
Tuesday start because of shoulder soreness. The rookie, who is 6-5 with
a 2.87 ERA, will be examined by team doctors in New York on Monday. ...
The Phillies claimed RHP Jerome Williams off waivers. Williams pitched
for the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros this season, going 2-5 in 28
games (two starts) with a 6.71 ERA. RHP Sean O'Sullivan was designated
for assignment to make room for Williams on the roster. ... Phillies OF
Marlon Byrd was not in the starting lineup for routine rest. He provided
a key pinch hit in the ninth inning. ... The Phillies and Mets finish
their four-game series Monday afternoon. Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (5-8,
3.41 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39).
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