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Rookie Phillips singles home winning run in ninth

7/13/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets were happy to see their young
players pull them out of a slump.

Rookie Jason Phillips hit an RBI single in the bottom of the
ninth inning and New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Sunday to snap a six-game losing streak.

Phillips also had an RBI double and finished with three hits.
Rookie shortstop Jose Reyes also had three hits, including a key
double in the ninth.

"We needed this one," Mets manager Art Howe said, "and it was
nice the kids were in the middle of it."

Tom Glavine pitched six solid innings for the Mets, who overcame
another blown save by Armando Benitez and ended the Phillies'
five-game winning streak.

Former New York and Philadelphia reliever Tug McGraw, always a
fan favorite at Shea Stadium, threw out the ceremonial first pitch
as the Mets honored their 1973 NL championship team before the
game. McGraw, recovering from surgery to remove a malignant brain
tumor, got a warm ovation from the crowd of 31,630.

Benitez, far less popular among Mets fans than McGraw was,
entered in the ninth with a 3-2 lead and got the first two outs.
But Nick Punto singled, Jim Thome walked and Mike Lieberthal
singled past a diving Ty Wigginton at third base to tie it,
bringing a chorus of boos.

It was the seventh blown save in 28 chances for Benitez (3-3),
who is headed to his first All-Star game. He retired Jason Michaels
to get out of the inning, and the Mets won it in the bottom half.

Rey Sanchez singled with one out off Terry Adams (1-3), and
Reyes followed with a line drive to right that was misplayed into a
double by Bobby Abreu.

Pinch-runner Roger Cedeno barely made it to third and, after an
intentional walk to Jeff Duncan, Phillips got ahead 2-0 and hit a
drive to right over the drawn-in outfield to win it.

"I was looking for the fastball there," Phillips said. "He's
got to come to me in that situation."

After the game, the scoreboard flashed "You Gotta Believe,"
the motto of the 1973 Mets popularized by McGraw.

The Mets won in their final at-bat for the seventh time this
season.

"A much-needed win," Glavine said.

New York trailed 2-0, but scored three runs off Phillies starter
Brett Myers in the fifth inning on Reyes' RBI single and
consecutive doubles by Phillips and Jeromy Burnitz.

"I made some bad pitches there. I hung a couple of curveballs
and they hit them," Myers said.

That gave the Mets their first lead in a week. They had not been
ahead in any game on their seven-game homestand.

Michaels and Jimmy Rollins opened the Phillies' second with
back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 lead. Rollins was later out at the
plate on an apparent missed squeeze attempt.

Placido Polanco tripled in the third and scored on Thome's RBI
single, putting the Phillies in front 2-0.

"I'm satisfied with the way we're playing," Phillies manager
Larry Bowa said.

"We had a good road trip, we were 5-2. We came from behind,
tied it and just came up short. That's going to happen."

Glavine allowed two runs and eight hits. Myers gave up three
runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out four and walking
none.

Game notes
Polanco was abruptly ejected by plate umpire Jerry Layne
after a called second strike in the fifth inning. Punto replaced
Polanco and beat out an infield single on the next pitch. Punto
finished 3-for-3. ... Reyes walked in the seventh inning, only his
second walk this season. He has 100 at-bats.