Victorino lifts Phillies to fourth straight win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Shane Victorino slapped his hands together after rounding first base, pumped his fist and braced himself for a beating.

A game-ending hit can be a painful experience sometimes.

Victorino's two-out RBI single in the ninth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over the New York Mets 3-2 on Friday night.

Duaner Sanchez (3-1) retired the first two batters before Pedro Feliz doubled to left field. Victorino followed with a liner to right on a 1-2 pitch to score Feliz and send a sellout crowd into a frenzy.

The dugout emptied quickly and swarmed Victorino.

"[Kyle] Kendrick got me a few times, so he better watch out next time I have a chance to get him," Victorino said. "It felt good to get the win."

The NL East-leading Phillies have won four straight after losing 13 of 18.

Brad Lidge (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Philadelphia's stellar bullpen tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Chad Durbin retired the seven batters he faced, striking out six, after replacing starter J.A. Happ in the fifth. Ryan Madson threw a scoreless eighth.

Johan Santana again had nothing to show for a strong outing. Santana gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-4 in his last six starts despite a 2.48 ERA in that span.

Santana threw just 95 pitches and wouldn't have minded staying in to pitch the ninth.

"I'm not trying to be a hero," he said. "I guess things didn't turn out good."

The inconsistent Mets fell 5½ games behind the Phillies, though both teams know that's a short lead in July.

The Phillies battled the Mets to the final day of the regular season last year, overtaking New York to win their first division title in 14 years. The Mets had a seven-game lead with 17 remaining, before their historic collapse.

"We haven't been able to find a way to win these close games," third baseman David Wright said. "We had chances but we couldn't get the job done."

New York backed Santana with two runs in the fifth but the Phillies tied it in the sixth. Jayson Werth and Chase Utley hit one-out singles. After Jimmy Rollins flied out, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell delivered back-to-back RBI singles.

Happ allowed two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings in his second career start. Happ was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace opening-day starter Brett Myers, who was demoted this week after struggling all season.

The left-hander's only other start came against the Mets last year. He gave up five runs in four innings and took the loss.

"He hung in there. He battled," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's improved a lot since last year. He has a better fastball. With more seasoning, his command will get better."

Happ ran into trouble in the fifth. Damion Easley led off with a single and Ramon Castro followed with a ground-rule double to right. After Chris Aguila walked to load the bases, Santana fouled out. Jose Reyes then hit into a fielder's choice, beating out the relay throw from second to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Happ then walked Endy Chavez to reload the bases and walked Wright to force in the second run after barely missing on an 0-2 pitch that would've ended the inning. Durbin came in and fanned Carlos Beltran to strand three runners.

"I might have tried to do too much that inning," Happ said. "I was close. I kept us in there. Chad Durbin did a great job. That's why they're the best bullpen in the league."

Game notes
Manuel juggled his starting lineup so left-handed hitters Utley and Howard wouldn't bat back-to-back against the Mets' lefty-rich staff. Utley moved up to the No. 2 spot with Rollins going from leadoff to No. 3 and Howard stayed in the cleanup slot. ... Santana has never lost five straight decisions.