<
>

Reyes' major-league leading ninth triple lifts Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Reyes thought about the question for a
moment. Which did he prefer -- his major league-leading ninth triple
or the acrobatic pivot on an eighth-inning double play that ended
the last Philadelphia Phillies' late rally attempt?

"The triple, I got two RBI," Reyes said after the New York
Mets' 5-3 victory Thursday. "The double play was nice, too."

Reyes' triple helped the Mets build an early 5-1 lead, something
Pedro Martinez appreciated on a day when he didn't have his best
stuff. The turn on the double play sealed the victory.

Both plays were largely instinct.

"I was thinking triple right away," Reyes said. "They were
playing a little shallow, and I knew I was going to third base, no
doubt about it."

The double play was more complicated.

With runners at first and second and one out in the eighth,
reliever Roberto Hernandez came in to face Tomas Perez. Hernandez
threw one pitch, and Perez broke his bat with a grounder to second.
The ball was hit slowly, and Marlon Anderson rushed his throw to
Reyes with runner Chase Utley bearing down.

"I was trying to catch the ball and throw it," Reyes said.
"He didn't touch me. It's instinct. The runner was right there. He
almost got me. I had to get that throw out of there. It happened in
the moment."

The Mets turned the DP, and Braden Looper pitched a 1-2-3 ninth
for his 16th save in 19 opportunities.

Looper was grateful for the chance after blowing Sunday's game
against the New York Yankees.

"It was great to have the opportunity," he said. "I wasn't
worried. You watch and you wait to see what happens and your chance
comes up there."

Martinez won for the seventh time in his last eight decisions,
and Chris Woodward drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded
single as the Mets sent the slumping Phillies to their sixth loss
in seven games. Philadelphia has dropped 11 of 15 following a 12-1
homestand.

Martinez (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings,
walked two and struck out six. He raised his strikeout total to
2,776, moving past Frank Tanana (2,773) and into 17th place on the
career list.

"Without a doubt, my teammates picked me up today," Martinez
said. "We played excellent defense, got an early lead and that
made it easier for me."

Jon Lieber (8-8) lost his fourth straight start, giving up five
runs and six hits in four innings. His ERA has risen from 2.57 on
May 7, when he was 5-1, to 5.18.

"It's been frustrating," he said. "The bottom line is I'm the
one to blame. It's really upsetting because I feel like I'm letting
the team down. It's time for me to be more consistent."

Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies the lead in the second inning
with a leadoff home run. It was the seventh homer of the season for
Rollins and the ninth allowed by Martinez.

Rollins, a switch hitter, was one of eight left-handed batters
in a revamped Phillies lineup that had catcher Todd Pratt was the
only right-handed batter. Regulars David Bell, Pat Burrell, Jason
Michaels and Mike Lieberthal all started on the bench.

Lieberthal came into the game in the bottom of the second inning
when both Pratt and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel were thrown out
by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for arguing ball and strike calls.
Manuel has been ejected four times this season, twice by Marquez.

"I was upset because he threw Todd out of the game," Manuel
said. "He was talking to him. He wasn't making gestures or
anything. He did it quick. He gave me an answer that he used
profanity, and I started to question him on that."

That's when Manuel got tossed.

"I felt I should have stayed in the game," Manuel said. "It
wasn't a good time to get thrown out. But I felt I also had to take
up for my catcher. When I got thrown out, it seems like that's when
things started to fall apart."

New York loaded the bases in the inning on a single by Cliff
Floyd and two walks -- both after Pratt was ejected, and Woodward
hit a go-ahead single.

In the fourth, David Wright was hit by a pitch and Woodward
followed with a double. After Martinez struck out, Reyes tripled to
make it 4-1 and scored on Cameron's single through the drawn-in
infield.

Two-out doubles by Kenny Lofton and Endy Chavez gave the
Phillies a run in the fifth.

After Rollins singled with one out in the sixth and advanced to
third on a stolen base and an infield out, Martinez struck out
Perez with his 99th and final pitch.

Lofton hit an RBI single in the seventh off Royce Ring but Bobby
Abreu, 0-for-10 in the series, bounced into an inning-ending double
play.

Walks to Jim Thome and Utley gave the Phillies two runners in
the eighth, but Roberto Hernandez relieved Ring and got Perez to
hit into the double play.

Game notes
Floyd defeated the overshifted defense with a bunt down the
third-base line in the third inning. He also stole two bases. ...
Carlos Beltran, with just one stolen base previously this season,
stole second and third on consecutive pitches in the seventh
inning.