PHILADELPHIA (WFAN/AP) — With their big boppers out of the lineup, the Philadelphia Phillies keep finding ways to continue their playoff push.
Carlos Ruiz singled in the go-ahead run during a six-run eighth inning and Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 7-5 Friday night for its fifth straight win.
The two-time NL champion Phillies, depleted by injuries to key players, moved within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta with their 13th win in 15 games. The Braves hosted San Francisco on Friday.
“It was a great team win,” said newly acquired Mike Sweeney, who got two hits in the eighth. “It’s exciting to come to the ballpark every day. This is a dream come true.”
Both starters pitched well, though neither stuck around for a decision. Chad Durbin (3-1) tossed a scoreless inning for the win. Bobby Parnell (0-1) didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
After pinch-hitter Mike Hessman hit a three-run homer off J.C. Romero with two outs in the ninth, Brad Lidge got the final out for his 13th save in 17 chances.
The Mets wasted another strong outing by Jonathon Niese. The 23-year-old lefty allowed one run and four hits, striking out seven in seven innings.
“Niese pitched extremely well,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He had good life on all of his pitches.”
Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings in his best outing this season.
The teams hadn’t played each other since the Mets shut out the Phillies in three straight games in New York on May 25-27.
Despite being without All-Stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and Shane Victorino, the Phillies have improved to a season-best 13 games above .500 at 61-48.
“Everybody is stepping up,” Blanton said. “It shows the depth of our team.”
Once Niese left, the Phillies rallied against Parnell and Pedro Feliciano in the eighth. Sweeney led off with a single and went to third on Jayson Werth’s single. Ben Francisco’s soft single to left-center drove in Sweeney to tie it at 2. Ruiz followed with an RBI single up the middle.
Ruiz hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning of a 5-4 win at Florida on Thursday night. He’s batting .302 this year, 56 points higher than his career average of .246 entering the season.
“This is the best I’ve seen him hit,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Feliciano then came in to face Wilson Valdez, who reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Ross Gload walked to force in a run and Jimmy Rollins singled in another run. After Placido Polanco’s sacrifice fly, Sweeney delivered an RBI single for his second hit of the inning and a 7-2 lead.
The Phillies got Sweeney from Seattle on Wednesday. The five-time AL All-Star will help fill in for Howard, who was out with an ankle injury.
“I’m no Ryan Howard. I’m not even close to the man he is, especially on the baseball field,” Sweeney said. “Me and Ross (Gload) have to go out there and do our job until the big guy gets back.”
Niese allowed a run in the first on Polanco’s RBI double but nothing else. The 23-year-old lefty lowered his ERA to 3.63 by allowing one run or less for the 10th time in 20 starts.
Josh Thole’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets tied it at 1 in the third when Jose Reyes hit a two-out single to score Jeff Francoeur, who led off with a single.
NOTES: Former Phillies C Darren Daulton was inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. Daulton was a three-time All-Star and member of the 1993 NL championship team. Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt took part in the ceremony. Carlton, who wasn’t talkative during his career, introduced Daulton on stage. … Mets 3B David Wright snapped an 0-for-16 slump with his fourth-inning single. … Niese struck out the side on 10 pitches in the fourth. … A crowd of 45,378 was the 92nd straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. … Phillies LF Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.