PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets sure don't need any extra motivation playing against the defending World Series champions.
Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer, Mike Pelfrey pitched 5 1/3 effective innings and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 on Friday night in the first meeting between the two rivals.Before the game, general manager Omar Minaya backed off comments he made Thursday that the team lacked an edge. Perhaps his remarks inspired the Mets."I guess we had an edge tonight," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "I feel good about how we approached the game. We have to bring that level of intensity and focus every night no matter who we play."Pelfrey (3-0) allowed three runs and seven hits. He also chipped in with two RBIs, matching his career total.J.J. Putz, who blew a one-run lead in a loss to Florida on Wednesday, pitched a scoreless eighth. Francisco Rodriguez finished for his fifth save in as many chances."Every game is important for us," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully this will start a streak."Chase Utley hit his eight homer of the season for the Phillies, who got another poor outing from a starter. Chan Ho Park (0-1) gave up seven runs and eight hits, walking six in 4 2/3 innings.These teams have provided interesting down-to-the-wire races in the NL East the last two seasons. Aided by New York's September collapses, the Phillies have captured consecutive division titles and won the World Series last year. The Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games to play in 2007. They lost a 3 1/2-game lead with 17 remaining last season.Though it's early, the Mets are the ones chasing the Phillies and the first-place Marlins. New York (10-12) had lost seven of 10 coming in. Philadelphia (11-10) has dropped two straight after winning five in a row.The Mets jumped on Park early, taking a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Park, who won a four-man competition for the fifth starter's job in spring training, could be in danger of going back to the bullpen. He has an 8.57 ERA in five appearances, including four starts."I'm not ready to say Park won't be starting," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He earned a chance this spring. You have to show patience, but our pitching has to get better."After Alex Cora walked in the first, Murphy hit a high drive that landed in the first row of the right-field stands. Park walked Carlos Beltran and David Wright after the homer and fell behind Ryan Church 3-0, before retiring him on a double-play grounder to end the inning.The Mets added a pair of runs in the second on sacrifice flies. Fernando Tatis singled to start the inning and Omir Santos followed with a double. Tatis scored on Pelfrey's fly to deep left and Santos came in on Jose Reyes' fly to center.Santos drove in another run with a sac fly in the third to make it 5-0. But the Phillies got three runs back in the bottom half."We had really good at-bats up and down the lineup," Murphy said.Raul Ibanez delivered a broken-bat, two-run single with two outs. Pedro Feliz followed with an RBI single to right to cut it to 5-3.Beltran led off the fifth with a double, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Wright singled him in to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. Pelfrey greeted reliever Chad Durbin with a two-out, RBI single that made it 7-3.Utley hit a solo shot off Pedro Feliciano in the seventh.
Phillies ace Cole Hamels will test his injured left ankle in a bullpen session on Saturday. He was originally supposed to throw on Friday. Closer Brad Lidge threw before the game and said he'd be ready to pitch Saturday. Lidge hasn't appeared in a game since last Saturday because of inflammation in his right knee. ... Mets 1B Carlos Delgado (hip) and 2B Luis Castillo (back spasm) sat out. ... The Phillies' club-record 12-game errorless streak ended when 2B Utley mishandled Church's grounder in the seventh. Utley ranged far to his right, but the ball skipped under his glove.