The right-hander slapped the ball into the reliever's glove, then made a slow, head-down walk to the New York Mets' dugout. Not the body language one would expect to see after a dominant outing.
Was Pelfrey peeved?
Not after pitching into the eighth inning to earn his career-high 14th victory, getting help from Ike Davis and beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Saturday to stop the NL East leaders' four-game winning streak.
"You always want to stay in," Pelfrey said, "but I know that I left a fastball up to [Ross] Gload and I hung a splitter to [Shane] Victorino, and I think that when you're starting to leave the ball up, maybe it's a sign that you're getting a little tired."
Pelfrey often is moody on the mound, and manager Jerry Manuel thinks the pitcher is beginning to show his potential as a front line starter -- and it couldn't come sooner. He might have to step up next year with ace Johan Santana out an undetermined amount of time for shoulder surgery.
"I'm hopeful this is the Pelfrey you'll see the rest of his career," Manuel said. "There's still growth for him and I feel very comfortable that he can get to that next level."
Davis kept up his big September with four hits and three RBIs, and Jose Reyes homered, helping quiet the many red-clad Philadelphia fans in the Citi Field crowd of 35,788.
New York was able to slow the surging Phillies in their pursuit of a fourth straight East title even without center fielder Carlos Beltran, who sat out with tendinitis in his left knee. He said the injury was a result of overcompensating during the rehabilitation of his surgically repaired right knee this spring. Beltran is day to day.
The Phillies fell into a tie with Atlanta after the Braves beat St. Louis 6-3. This was the first of their final 20 games, all against teams in the East -- Philadelphia dropped to 29-24 against the division but made it close by rallying for three runs in the eighth.
Hisanori Takahashi gave up a one-out double off the left-field wall to pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney, then retired Wilson Valdez and pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz on groundouts for his sixth save in six chances.
"When he first hit it, I thought it had a chance but its a big yard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Sweeney's drive that hit above the 384-foot sign.
The Mets held a brief pregame ceremony to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in attendance. Both teams lined up along the first- and third-base lines as a video tribute was shown and a New York City firefighter sang the national anthem. Several first responders threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Pelfrey (14-9) then didn't allow a runner past first base until Jayson Werth reached second on Raul Ibanez's single in the seventh. Pelfrey bested his 13 victories in 2008, needing three tries to get No. 14. He had a 10.38 ERA in his first two attempts at the win.
"He's legitimately having ups and downs," Jerry Manuel said. "And all young pitchers will have that for a period until they find exactly how to pitch when they don't have their best stuff."
Pelfrey allowed two runs and six hits, struck out five and walked none.
Davis had an RBI ground-rule double down the right-field line off Kyle Kendrick (9-9) in the first. He added a two-run single off J.C. Romero that made it 4-1 in the seventh after Jose Contreras intentionally walked David Wright to load the bases. Davis is 16 for 34 (.471) in 10 September games with 10 RBIs.
"Ike is constantly making adjustments as the opposition is adjusting for him," Jerry Manuel said, "which is a sign that he is a good player."
With the late-afternoon shadows creeping past the pitcher's mound and out to right field, Reyes sent a drive into the deck overhanging the right field wall for a 2-0 lead in the third.
Kendrick, whose spot in the rotation has been tenuous after posting a 7.84 ERA in his last four starts, was pulled after five innings and 64 pitches. He allowed two runs, five hits and two walks.
"It was all right," Kendrick said. "Not happy with the loss but pitch count was still low."
Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins sat out his second straight game because of tightness in his right hamstring. manager Charlie Manuel said there is no guarantee he'll be ready to play Sunday. ... Even with win, the Mets are just 21-27 in one-run games. The Phillies are 25-15. ... The Mets ran into two double plays started by outfielders on flyballs.