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Thome hits majors-leading 30th homer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Larry Bowa knew he'd be criticized if his
strategy didn't work. With one double-play grounder, Rheal Cormier
made sure the Philadelphia Phillies manager was praised.

With the Phillies leading the New York Mets by three runs in the
sixth inning Saturday, Cormier came in to face Jason Phillips, who
had a 2-0 count on him with the bases loaded and one out. The
left-handed groundball specialist got Phillips to hit into an
inning-ending double play, and Philadelphia went on to beat New
York 8-2.

"Players make you look good or they make you look bad," Bowa
said. "Today, Cormier made me look good. You roll the dice. If
Phillips hits a double, it's a bad move."

Jim Thome hit his major league-leading 30th homer and fell a
triple short of the cycle, and Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs with
a double in a three-run third inning for the Phillies.

"It's about picking each other up," Thome said. "Any time a
pitcher can come out of the bullpen and get a double-play ball like
that is a big boost."

Randy Wolf (4-5) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings
to win for just the second time in 10 starts. But he got into a big
jam in the sixth.

With the Mets trailing 4-1, Cliff Floyd hit a one-out double and
moved to third on Ty Wigginton's single. Mike Cameron walked to
load the bases, and Wolf went to 2-0 on Phillips. That's when
Cormier entered.

"I thought I was going to come in before it was a 2-0 count
because I was ready," said Cormier, who pitched 1 2/3 perfect
innings. "There's not a lot of room for error. You just try to
limit the damage."

Phillips hit a grounder to third baseman Tomas Perez, who
stepped on third for one out and threw to first to end the inning.

"I didn't get the job done today," Phillips said.

Wolf, a flyball pitcher, said he would've liked to have finished
pitching to Phillips, but understood Bowa's move.

"It's always tough to come out, but I realized the situation,"
he said. "I wasn't throwing strikes, and we brought in our best
groundball guy, and the move worked out for us."

The first-place Phillies have won two in a row after losing the
series opener, while the Mets dropped back to .500 at 45-45, three
games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

"You know you're going to have some of these," Mets manager
Art Howe said. "It's unfortunate that we had it against a team
we're trying to catch, but you know it's going to happen."

Tom Glavine (7-8) allowed four runs -- two earned -- in 6 1/3
innings and has lost five straight starts for the first time in his
career. He's winless in his last six since beating Kansas City on
June 13.

"I'm at a point where I'm not going to try to analyze it or
worry about it," he said.

Mike Piazza, booed earlier in the game as his batting slump
reached 0-for-16, homered on a 2-1 pitch from Tim Worrell into the
camera stantion in center -- 435 feet away -- to lead off the eighth
and make it 4-2. It was Piazza's 17th homer but first in 74 at-bats
since June 22.

"It's a baby step right now and, hopefully, I can get it
going," he said.

Thome hit a three-run homer with one out in the ninth off a 1-2
pitch from Jose Parra to make it 7-2. The Phillies added another
run when shortstop Kaz Matsui couldn't handle Doug Glanville's
grounder cleanly, allowing Mike Lieberthal to score.

Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead in the second. Thome hit a leadoff
double and scored two outs later on Perez's single, avoiding
catcher Phillips' swipe tag.

Glanville was intentionally walked, and Wolf reached on
Wigginton's fielding error at third base to load the bases. Rollins
followed with a liner to center that Cameron tried to make a
shoestring catch on, but the ball tipped off his glove for a
two-run double.

In the third, Thome hit a one-out single to left -- with the Mets
shifted defensively to the right side. One out later, Lieberthal
lifted a high fly to left that Cliff Floyd, wearing his sunglasses,
appeared to lose in the bright sun. He tried to shade his eyes with
his glove to no avail as the ball dropped for an RBI double.

"We didn't deserve to win today because we didn't play well,"
Howe said. "We really didn't."

Cameron had an RBI single in the fourth.

Game notes
Bowa, in his fourth season, became the 10th Phillies
manager to reach 300 wins. He's 300-274. ... Phillips got his 36th
start at catcher for the Mets, tying Piazza for the team lead.
Piazza started at first base, his team-leading 42nd this season.
... Mets RHP Scott Erickson is expected to start Monday night for
the Mets against Florida.