Last night the Mets played the Marlins while the Phillies battled the Braves, the club that had just taken two out of three from the Mets at Shea.
The Phillies did what the Mets could not.
The Mets game began as too many have. In the top of the first, Brian Lawrence, Mets starter, got scored upon. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez singled, stole both second and third, and then scored on a single. Then, in the top of the second, ex-Met Mike Jacobs hit a lead-off single. After a wild pitch and two more singles, the Mets were down 2-0.
It took the Mets three more innings to catch up.
At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the Braves jumped on Phillies ace Cole Hamels in the first, scoring four runs. But the Phillies didn't wait until the fifth to tie the game. They did it in the bottom of the first.
At Shea, all three Mets runs scored on one blow. In the fifth, Carlos Beltran, back in the lineup after an injury, homered to right.
In Philly, the fighting Phils took the lead in the bottom of the seventh on an infield single. Phils up 5-4.
The Mets still held the 3-2 lead as the ninth began. Hopes were hight as Billy Wagner entered the game.
In the top of the ninth, Phils manager Charlie Manuel sent closer Tom "Flash" Gordon to seal the win.
At Shea, with the Mets really needing a win after the deflating loss the night before when the Braves' Willie Harvey leaped above the outfield wall to snare Delgado's drive that otherwise would have tied the game, Wagner made a mistake that's killed the Mets. He allowed the lead-off batter to reach first. After striking out the next batter, he walked a pinch-hitter. Up came Ramirez to the plate. He doubled to deep center, scoring both runners. To add insult to injury, he stole third.
Back in Philly, though Gordon's fastballs struggled to find the strike zone, causing him to throw 19 pitches, no Braves made it round the bases. The Phillies won.
With the Mets sinking toward another defeat, they sent Castillo, Beltran, and Wright to the plate. Castillo lined out. Beltran struck out looking. Wright grounded out.
Has the Mets August swoon begun?
The Phillies are just three games behind, and they aren't looking over their shoulder.