PHILADELPHIA -- The plastic hanging at the top of the lockers in the Phillies clubhouse remained unfurled. Philadelphia will have to wait at least one more day to celebrate a return to the playoffs.
"We've been around long enough that it's not much of a factor," Phillies reliever Chad Durbin said.
The NL East-leading Phillies missed out on a chance to clinch a fourth straight playoff berth -- all they need is one win or Atlanta loss and they're in -- with their first defeat since Sept. 11 in New York. Philadelphia's magic number to secure its fourth division title in a row is two.
The two-time NL champion Phillies are 45-16 since July 21, when they trailed Atlanta by seven games. They are 19-4 in September and have a six-game lead over the Braves, who beat Washington 5-0.
"This one's gone," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "There's nothing we can do about it."
Rookie Dillon Gee (2-1), making his fourth big league start, limited the Phillies to two runs on five hits in seven innings, helping the Mets end a season-high six-game losing streak.
"I was nervous at the start. I've never played before a crowd like that," Gee said, referring to the 45,274 fans, the 122nd straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. "But I settled down and felt OK. I like the atmosphere a lot."
Kyle Kendrick (10-10) cruised through the first six innings before the Mets rallied. Carlos Beltran singled ahead of David Wright's fielder's choice. Ike Davis then hit a single. An error by Howard loaded the bases. Josh Thole singled in the first run, chasing Kendrick. Durbin came on and gave up a pinch-hit double to Duda, who has nine hits this season, seven for extra bases.
"He's a run producer," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He'll put up some big RBI numbers if he gets his at-bats."
Two batters later, Jose Reyes hit an RBI double to make it 5-2.
The game was played without incident a day after the Mets were angered by Chase Utley's hard takeout slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning on Friday. There were a few hard slides Saturday, including one by Wilson Valdez into Reyes in the fifth, but no tempers flared.
Utley went 1 for 4 Saturday. Some Mets were still upset at the play.
"He's too good to be doing that," Beltran said. "He's such a good player, but I guess that's the way he plays."
Beltran also said the intention from the Mets side was to "send a message" and "hit somebody," though such a response never came.
Saturday's win was the 700th win of Manuel's career, 200 with the Mets. ... The Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America presented Howard with the Mike Schmidt Award for most valuable player, Roy Halladay with the Steve Carlton Award for most valuable pitcher and the Dallas Green Award for special achievement and Shane Victorino with Tug McGraw Good Guy Award. ... A crowd of 45,274 was the 122nd straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. ... Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins, out since Sept. 8 with a hamstring injury, felt some soreness and is more likely to play Monday than Sunday, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.