Series: Game 4 of 4

Series tied 2-2 (as of 7/8)

Game 1: Monday, July 5
NY Mets5Final
Game 2: Tuesday, July 6
NY Mets4Final
Game 3: Wednesday, July 7
NY Mets10Final
Game 4: Thursday, July 8
NY Mets4Final

Mets 4

(43-41, 19-25 away)

Phillies 5

(45-39, 25-20 home)

7:05 PM ET, July 8, 2004

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

123456789 R H E
NYM 100012000 4 11 1
PHI 000210101 5 8 0

W: B. Wagner (2-0)

L: J. Franco (2-5)

Abreu's shot in ninth keeps Philly in first

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Bobby Abreu smiled as the remnants of a shaving cream pie dripped off his neck and hair. Not even first-time All-Stars who hit winning homers are immune to Philadelphia's postgame celebration.

Abreu homered leading off the ninth inning Thursday night, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets and extending their lead in the NL East.

Gettin' It Done
How Bobby Abreu did in his five at-bats on Thursday:

1st inning: Line out to right.
4th inning: Double to center.
5th inning: RBI double to right-center.
7th inning: RBI single to right.
9th inning: Home run to left.

Abreu wasted little time against John Franco (2-5), hitting his second pitch the opposite way to left field. Abreu, named to the All-Star team for the first time a day earlier, lost his helmet as he crossed the plate, where he was mobbed by his teammates.

Abreu went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. The crowd chanted "Bobby! Bobby!" after he got face full of shaving cream during a postgame interview.

"It's something we do," Abreu said, smiling. "It's part of a tradition."

It's been a memorable two days for Abreu, who earned the final spot on the NL All-Star team in Internet fan voting Wednesday. He earned a standing ovation before his first at-bat that night, and the cheers continued Thursday.

"I couldn't imagine it, but it's exciting," Abreu said.

The Philadelphia fans, who have often given Abreu a hard time, have suddenly come around on the soft-spoken right fielder.

"They've been good to me the whole week," Abreu said. "These games are for the fans."

Jim Thome hit his major league-leading 28th home run for the Phillies, who gained a split of the four-game series. They hold a two-game lead on the Mets and the suddenly surging Braves, who come to Philadelphia this weekend for a three-game series.

Billy Wagner (2-0) earned the win with an inning of scoreless relief.

Manager Larry Bowa hoped someone in the middle of the lineup, either Abreu, Thome or Pat Burrell, would win the game.

"I said, 'It would be nice if one of our big guys would win it," Bowa said. "As soon as I got the words out of my mouth, he hit it."

The Phillies trailed 4-3 in the seventh, when Jimmy Rollins led off with a walk and Placido Polanco singled against reliever Ricky Bottalico. Abreu then smacked a tying single to right off lefty Mike Stanton.

Stanton struck out Thome swinging, and intentionally walked Burrell to load the bases.

Mets center fielder Mike Cameron then saved a run with a sliding catch on a blooper by David Bell. Stanton retired Mike Lieberthal to end the inning.

It was a tough loss for the Mets, who talked before the game about seizing the opportunity to move into first place this late in the season for the first time in four years. Instead, they'll have to wait at least a little longer.

Still, manager Art Howe said the Mets are for real.

"You deal with reality tonight," Howe said. "I think the Phillies know we're going to be around for the long haul."

The Phillies also plan to contend all season, but they must get better starting pitching. Again, Philadelphia overcame another mediocre outing by one of its starters.

Kevin Millwood allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. When he left in the sixth after giving up a double to pinch-hitter Eric Valent, Millwood was booed by the crowd.

Phillies starters have gone at least seven innings only three times this year, the worst mark in the major leagues.

Millwood was shaky all game, and he gave up a leadoff single to Ty Wigginton in the sixth. Cameron followed with a homer for a 4-3 lead, his third in two games and 13th of the season.

Millwood, the subject of trade rumors, was hit hard to start the game, giving up a leadoff single to Jose Reyes and an RBI double to deep center by Kaz Matsui.

The Phillies went ahead in the fourth when Thome crushed one into the second deck in left for a two-run shot.

Mets starter Matt Ginter allowed three runs and four hits in five innings after failing to go past the fourth inning in three straight starts. Ginter still hasn't won since May 21.

The Mets tied it 2-2 in the fifth on Cliff Floyd's RBI single, but the Phillies regained the lead in the bottom half on Abreu's two-out RBI double.

Game notes

Phillies CF Jason Michaels left with a hamstring strain in the first inning. Michaels crashed hard while chasing down Matsui's double. ... The Phillies had their 23rd sellout of the season. ... Abreu stole his 18th base in 19 attempts. ... Franco pitched in his 1,072nd game, putting him alone in second place on the career list. Franco had been tied with Dennis Eckersley. Jesse Orosco is first with 1,248 games. ... Thome (61), Burrell (60) and Abreu (60) are the first trio in Phillies history with 60 or more RBI before the All-Star break. ... New York's Richard Hidalgo extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press