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Astacio sharp as Mets defeat Phillies

7/14/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Roberto Alomar got two clutch hits in one
at-bat. The one that counted was good enough for the New York Mets.

Pedro Astacio pitched seven sharp innings, and Alomar hit a
two-run double moments after his apparent base hit was wiped out to
lead the Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Sunday.

"What are you going to do? You've got to stay there,'' Alomar
said. "I battled until the end and got a big hit for us. You have
to stay focused. I didn't lose my concentration, that's for sure.''

Alomar came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in
the second inning, and a strange sequence followed.

Plate umpire Mark Wegner called time just as Phillies starter
Brandon Duckworth went into his delivery. Not only did he throw a
pitch anyway, Alomar lashed it into right-center for what would
have been at least a two-run single if it had counted.

Alomar eventually lined a ground-rule double into the
right-field corner to make it 3-0.

"He got two hits in that at-bat,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine
said. "Two outs, we need a hit and we get it -- and it doesn't
count. It's a good thing we turned that around.''

Rey Ordonez and Edgardo Alfonzo also drove in runs for the Mets,
who gained a split of the four-game series.

Astacio (9-3) allowed only four hits, including solo homers by
Ricky Ledee and Bobby Abreu, and retired 13 of his last 14 batters
to beat Philadelphia for the second time in 12 days.

"He was his old self today,'' Mets catcher Vance Wilson said.
"He's been awesome all year, just another chapter in his book.
Every time we've needed a big start, he's come through.''

New York reliever David Weathers escaped a bases-loaded jam in
the eighth by getting Scott Rolen to ground into an inning-ending
double play. Weathers pumped his fist enthusiastically after
getting out of the inning.

"I think sometimes on this team, and I'm guilty of it, too,
we've made some big plays and we haven't had a lot of emotion,''
Weathers said. "Sometimes it's good to have some fire and emotion.
It felt good to get out of it.''

Rolen, the subject of trade talks, went 0-for-4 to snap an
11-game hitting streak. He stranded six runners. The Phillies are
batting .167 (14-for-84) with the bases loaded this season.

"It was a bad day,'' Rolen said. "I had opportunities, I just
didn't swing the bat well.''

Armando Benitez worked the ninth for his 21st save in 23
chances, retiring Jimmy Rollins on a flyout to end the game with
the bases loaded.

With the Philadelphia bullpen taxed by Saturday's 12-inning
game, Duckworth (5-7) labored to get into the middle innings before
settling down. He allowed four runs and four hits in six innings,
walking three and throwing a wild pitch.

Duckworth loaded the bases in the second on walks to Mo Vaughn
and Wilson, and a single by Timo Perez. After a long at-bat,
Ordonez beat out an infield single with a headfirst dive, giving
New York a 1-0 lead.

Alomar's double came one out later. After struggling throughout
the first half of the season, he is batting .429 (15-for-35) with
six extra-base hits during an eight-game hitting streak. He's
scored 10 runs and knocked in eight during that span.

"Robbie's so good. He just wasn't taking his good swings early
in the season,'' Valentine said. "Now he's having a good at-bat
almost every time up.''

Ledee hit his fourth home run in the third.

Jeromy Burnitz, batting third for the second time this season,
helped create a run in the bottom half when he singled, went to
second on a wild pitch and stole third.

Burnitz scored on Alfonzo's sacrifice fly, just his 28th RBI of
the year.

Abreu's leadoff home run in the sixth cut it to 4-2.

"The way it turned out, I guess I'm happy with a split,''
Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "We could have won four, we
could have lost four.''

Game notes
Mets C Mike Piazza got the day off. ... A crowd of 40,463
turned out for Alomar bobblehead day. ... Mets RHP Steve Trachsel,
on the disabled list with a strained back muscle, will make a
rehabilitation start for Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday. ... The
Mets have won five of Astacio's last six starts. ... The Phillies
are 1-40 when trailing after seven innings. ... The Philadelphia
bullpen, worst in the majors, did not give up a run for the first
time since pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings July 1 against the
Mets. ... Ordonez, a three-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop,
made his 14th error of the season.