PHILADELPHIA - Brett Myers’ pinch-hit appearance drew laughs in the dugout. Chris Coste’s clutch hit gave them reason to celebrate.
Coste hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning and the Philadelphia Phillies overcame a 7-0 deficit to beat the New York Mets 8-7 on Tuesday night and retake the lead in the NL East.
“We stayed after them,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “A lot of things happened, everything except a fight.”
Fernando Tatis hit a three-run homer and the Mets staked Pedro Martinez to a seven-run cushion. But the Phillies chipped away against Martinez and rallied against a bullpen that has blown 10 leads in the ninth inning, according to Stats LLC.
The Mets have 22 blown saves overall, including seven by injured All-Star closer Billy Wagner. This one might have been the most devastating.
“People are going to have to get people out,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’ll keep doing it until we find the right way.”
Ryan Howard hit his league-leading 35th homer and Jimmy Rollins was 5-for-7 with a two-run shot for Philadelphia, which moved a half-game ahead of the Mets with its ninth win in 11 games.
The last time the Mets had a lead of seven or more runs and failed to win was May 13, 2003, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They led that one 7-0 and lost 9-8 at Colorado.
Shane Victorino lined a triple down the right-field line to start Philadelphia’s 13th against Scott Schoeneweis (2-3). After Jayson Werth and Eric Bruntlett were intentionally walked, Myers was called upon to bat for Rudy Seanez. Myers, the second starting pitcher to pinch-hit for Philadelphia, struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch after being instructed not to swing.
Myers did his best in the batter’s box to distract Schoeneweis, digging in, bailing out and looking pitches all the way into the catcher’s mitt.
“I think the whole ballpark knew he wasn’t going to swing, but he put on a good show,” Coste said. “It was intimidating in the on-deck circle.”
Coste then drove one to center way over the head of the drawn-in Carlos Beltran for his first career game-winning hit at any level. He finished 4-for-4, despite entering the game in the eighth inning.
Seanez (5-3) pitched a scoreless 13th for the win.
The Mets used four relievers to get to the ninth after Pedro Martinez lasted five innings. But Luis Ayala couldn’t protect a one-run lead.
Ayala, who converted his other save chance since joining the Mets in a trade with Washington last week, got the first two outs. But Werth singled and pinch-hitter Bruntlett, the last position player available for Philadelphia, drove him in with a double to right-center.
Martinez allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out eight. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who once had an overpowering fastball, relied heavily on offspeed pitches and didn’t throw harder than 88 mph.
“It’s frustrating, but with this team, in this stadium, you never know,” Martinez said. “They never give up, especially in this band box.”
Jamie Moyer lasted just three innings in his shortest outing in three years. The 45-year-old left-hander gave up six runs and nine hits. Moyer had been outstanding recently, not giving up more than three runs in 14 straight starts since June 1.
Tatis, who has resurrected his career after spending three of the last four seasons out of baseball, gave the Mets a 6-0 lead when he connected in the third inning.
Damion Easley was 4-for-5 with a homer for the Mets, who trailed the Phillies by 7½ games on June 13. New York is 39-25 since Jerry Manuel replaced Willie Randolph as manager.
The Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 remaining last season, losing the division to the Phillies on the final day. The teams meet four more times, including a three-game series at Shea Stadium next weekend.
Trailing 7-1, the Phillies stared their comeback in the fifth. Relief pitcher Clay Condrey led off with a broken-bat double down the left-field line for his first career extra-base hit.
Rollins then ripped a liner to the seats in right to cut it to 7-3. Howard hit an opposite-field, two-run drive to left to get the Phillies within 7-5.
Rollins’ RBI single cut it to 7-6 and put runners on first and third with one out in the eighth. Booed throughout the homestand for calling fans “frontrunners” in a television interview two weeks ago, Rollins got a standing ovation when he came to the plate that inning.
A sellout crowd of 45,204 at Citizens Bank Park included many Mets fans who had reason to cheer right from the start.
Notes: Mets C Ramon Castro left with a right quadriceps strain after reaching on first baseman Howard’s error in the fifth. ... It was Moyer’s shortest start since May 11, 2005. He allowed six runs in 2 1-3 innings for Seattle in a 13-9 loss to the New York Yankees. ... Rollins’ last five-hit game was June 16, 2005 at Seattle. He’s done it four times. ... Philadelphia had a season-high six steals, including three by Rollins.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
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