By Mike Steffanos
Game 15: Mets 6 - Phillies 4
For seven innings this game was a masterpiece. It got a little messy in the eighth, but worked out well in the end.
Santana was as sharp as we've seen him this season, with all three pitches working and pitching aggressively. Handed a lead right off the bat, Santana struck out 8 in his first four innings of work. A one-out single by Burrell in the second was the only hit off of him until Chase Utley's leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to 2-1.
In the top of the eighth the Mets jumped on Cole Hamels with a Ryan Church single followed by a David Wright double. After Hamels intentionally walked Beltran to load the bases his day was done.
J.C. Romero came in and induced a ground ball from Delgado that Ryan Howard might have had a play at home on had he fielded it cleanly. He took the out at first and the Mets had an insurance run. Angel Pagan drove in another with a soft double, and Schneider capped the inning with an opposite field RBI single.
At that point with a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth and Santana still pitching well I hoped that the Mets might actually manage an easy win over the Phillies, but that wasn't to be. Santana was gone after allowing hits to Carlos Ruiz and Eric Bruntlett. Aaron Heilman needed only 2 pitches to lose the 3 run cushion the Mets had earned in the top of the frame, allowing a homer to PH Greg Dobbs.
If this was last season, the game would have fallen apart after that point. Instead, Heilman regrouped enough to get the next 2 outs, and Pedro Feliciano came in to strike out Utley. The Mets scratched an unearned run off Brad Lidge for some breathing room, and Wagner saved it with a perfect ninth.
I get no feeling watching the Mets that they have it all together yet, but I continue to like what I see so far. If they can take one of the next two it would be a nice step in the right direction. While I won't read too much into beating the Phillies who are missing Rollins and Victorino, it at least changes the subject for a while. (For that matter, the Mets offense will undoubtedly be better when Moises Alou returns, at least until his next injury.)