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Utley's hit streak ends at 35 games; Phillies beat Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chase Utley knew his hitting streak would end
sooner or later. He just would have preferred later.

Utley went 0-for-5 Friday night in Philadelphia's 5-3 victory
over the New York Mets, ending a 35-game hitting streak that tied
him for 10th longest in major league history.

Utley's hitless night overshadowed home runs by David Dellucci
and Ryan Howard that carried the Phillies to their fourth straight
win and ninth in 11 games. Utley struck out twice and was
robbed on his best chance for a hit when Mets second baseman Jose
Valentin ranged to his right in the seventh inning, backhanded his
grounder up the middle and threw him out.

For a moment, the All-Star second baseman thought he had his
hit.

"I wasn't sure," Utley said. "He's a pretty slick fielder."

Valentin, who pinch hit for Mets starter Orlando Hernandez in
the sixth and stayed in to play second, said he got a good start on
it.

"As soon as I caught it, I knew I had to make a good throw,"
Valentin said. "He's fast. Sometimes something like that has to
end. It's good to get on a run like that. But you need luck to keep
it going."

Utley agreed.

"I felt comfortable," Utley said. "It takes a little luck,
too."

Mets manager Willie Randolph shrugged off the streak.

"There's nothing scientific about it, that's for sure," he
said. "He had a nice little run. Let him start another one when he
leaves here."

Utley had one more chance but he struck out leading off in the
ninth inning. When he got to the dugout, his teammates
congratulated him.

"I got pats on the back," Utley said. "I really didn't want
it to go extra innings. It was a good run."

Howard followed Utley with his NL-leading 37th homer to give the
Phillies a 5-3 lead.

Dellucci led off the seventh against reliever Darren Oliver
(4-1) with his ninth homer for Philadelphia, which improved to 13-8
since the All-Star break.

"I tried to get it in," Oliver said. "It got too much of the
plate. Dellucci can hit a little bit."

Ryan Madson (10-7) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win
and Tom Gordon struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 27th save
in 30 chances.

Utley's streak is the longest in the majors this season and the
second longest in franchise history, trailing only Jimmy Rollins'
38-game run. Rollins hit in the final 36 games last season and the
first two this year.

Luis Castillo of Florida (2002), Ty Cobb of Detroit (1917) and
Fred Clarke of Louisville (1895) also had 35-game streaks. Utley
also tied Castillo for the major league record for a second
baseman.

The major league record is 56 games in a row by the Yankees' Joe
DiMaggio in 1941.

"Fifty-six games is unbelievable," Utley said.

In the second inning, singles by Shane Victorino and Abraham
Nunez gave Philadelphia runners at first and third with one out
against Hernandez. Pitcher Randy Wolf hit a sacrifice fly to center
to make it 1-0.

The Mets came back in the third.

With one out, Jose Reyes beat out an infield single, the first
of his three hits, and Paul Lo Duca walked. Carlos Beltran followed
with an RBI double off the left-field wall that just missed being a
three-run homer. Carlos Delgado added a sacrifice fly to put New
York in front.

Philadelphia tied it in the fourth when Victorino opened with a
double, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored when second base
umpire Bob Davidson called a balk on Hernandez. Nunez then singled,
moved up on an infield out and reached third as a second balk was
called on Hernandez. But Rollins struck out, ending the inning.

Hernandez tripled and scored in the fourth but Howard doubled in
Dellucci in the fifth to tie it at 3.

Hernandez worked six innings, allowing three runs and seven hits
with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Wolf, making just his second start after reconstructive elbow
surgery, lasted just four innings, throwing pitches that ranged
from 63 to 90 mph with various stops in between. He allowed three
runs and seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Game notes
Mets reliever Roberto Hernandez reclaimed uniform No. 39
from LHP Pedro Feliciano, who switched to No. 25. "I'll have to do
something for him," Hernandez said. "I don't know what yet." ...
Philadelphia stole four bases in the first two innings, including
the 24th and 25th of the season in the first by Rollins. ... Reyes'
stolen base in the fourth was his 45th of the season, tops in the
majors. ... Hernandez struck out Nunez in the sixth on a 52-mph
curveball.