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Six-run seventh brings Mets' streak to end

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sooner or later, Mike Piazza's defense at first
base was bound to cost the New York Mets a ballgame.

Piazza's throwing error set up Jim Thome's tiebreaking double
and the Philadelphia Phillies scored six runs in the seventh inning
to beat New York 7-4 Wednesday night.

"It's frustrating. I've just got to put it behind me," Piazza
said. "It's something I've just got to keep working on."

Mike Lieberthal got the Phillies going with an RBI double,
sparking their rally from a 3-0 deficit. Philadelphia snapped New
York's four-game winning streak and remained percentage points
ahead of Florida in the NL East.

Matt Ginter pitched six shutout innings for the Mets, extending
their scoreless streak to 28, their longest since going 31 innings
without allowing a run in September 1990.

But an overworked bullpen failed the Mets, who lost for only the
fourth time in 13 games.

"It blew up on us in that one inning. Obviously, the bullpen as
a whole, we're not happy about it," Ricky Bottalico said.
"Nothing really went our way that whole inning. Usually when that
happens, what you see is a big number on the board."

David Bell opened the seventh with a one-hop shot off shortstop
Kaz Matsui's glove that was ruled an error. Bell scored on
Lieberthal's double to left off Bottalico, ending New York's
scoreless string, and Doug Glanville looped an RBI single off John
Franco (0-3).

With two on and one out, the Mets had a chance to get out of the
inning with a 3-2 lead when Chase Utley hit a potential double-play
grounder to Piazza. But the longtime catcher failed to set his feet
properly and fired over Matsui's head into left field, allowing the
tying run to score.

"It's tough to hit a guy on the run there," Piazza said. "I
felt like I was pretty much under control. I just threw it away."

After Bobby Abreu walked, Thome hit a two-run double down the
right-field line off Mike Stanton, giving the Phillies a 5-3 lead.
Bell added a sacrifice fly off David Weathers.

"The big key for us was getting that first guy on," Thome
said. "This was a big win for us, for sure."

Unlike the Mets, Philadelphia got a big effort from its bullpen
in winning for the 13th time in 18 games.

Roberto Hernandez (1-1) walked home a run in the sixth but
struck out Piazza with two outs and the bases loaded. Ryan Madson
whiffed three in 1 2-3 innings.

Utley's two-out error at second base in the eighth gave the Mets
another chance, and Rheal Cormier walked Piazza with the bases
loaded -- pretty much on purpose -- cutting it to 6-4.

"Just don't let him beat us," Cormier said. "He's the type of
hitter that can beat you with one swing."

The left-hander then struck out pinch-hitter Todd Zeile to end
the inning before Tim Worrell got three outs for his sixth save in
eight chances.

"You don't want to give up any more there. Zeile has had some
big hits in his career," Cormier said.

Lieberthal added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

The Mets stranded a season-high 14 runners and scored three runs
on bases-loaded walks.

"A couple of opportunities, we just didn't get it done," Mike
Cameron said. "We played a pretty decent game. One play kind of
messed us up."

Filling in for an injured Al Leiter, Ginter looked great in his
third major league start. He got Mets nemesis Pat Burrell to ground
into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the
first and allowed just four hits overall before being lifted for a
pinch-hitter.

Phillies starter Brett Myers, coming off a five-hit shutout
against the Dodgers, walked five -- one intentional -- in 5 2-3
innings. He gave up three runs and seven hits.

Matsui reached on an infield single in the third, stole second
and scored on Piazza's two-out double off the left-field fence.

The Mets added two more in the sixth on bases-loaded walks by
Danny Garcia and Cliff Floyd, making it 3-0.

Game notes
Piazza extended his hitting streak to 12 games, longest by
a Mets player this season. ... It was Matsui's fifth stolen base.
... Burrell, who has 21 career homers against the Mets, went
0-for-6 in the two-game series with four strikeouts. He did rob
Jason Phillips of a home run with a leaping grab at the left-field
wall in the second. ... Besides the shot to the wall, Phillips had
two hits off Myers, improving to 7-for-13 (.538) lifetime against
the right-hander.