Updated 8/16/10 6:26 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP) Kyle Kendrick helped ensure that the New York Mets’ miserable week ended with a whimper.
Kendrick toyed with New York’s sputtering offense into the seventh inning, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-1 victory on Sunday night.
“I wanted them to put the ball in play,” Kendrick said.
A good plan against a team that scored just nine runs in the six-game homestand.
“When an offense is struggling the best thing to do is pound the zone and force the struggling offense to be aggressive and get themselves out,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who was 3 for 18 (.167) on the homestand. “That’s really what he did.”
With the loss, the Mets ended a trying week in which a civil suit was filed against ace Johan Santana by the woman who accused him of raping her – no charges were filed – last year in Florida and Francisco Rodriguez, their closer, was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly beating his girlfriend’s father outside the family room at Citi Field.
Other than Jose Reyes’ leadoff homer in the third that tied it 1-1, the Mets mustered five hits. They went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and were 3 for 34 (.088) in that situation during the 3-3 homestand. New York’s three wins were shutouts, including two 1-0 games.
“We’re struggling right now with the bats – the middle of the order,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’ve got to find a way to unlock that.”
And soon. The Mets have fallen 10 games back of Atlanta in the East after trailing by four at the All-Star break. They are 10-19 since the break and are hitting .212 over that period.
Jimmy Rollins stole two bases and Shane Victorino swiped another to help score two-out runs for the banged-up Phillies. Jayson Werth tripled and reached base three times as Philadelphia won the final two games of the three-game series after snapping their 38-inning scoreless streak at Citi Field.
“To me the big thing offensively was Rollins and Victorino stealing,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We manufactured some runs that way.”
Many in the crowd of 31,345 that endured a persistent drizzle in the early innings raced for the exits after Jeff Francoeur flied out to the warning track in left-center against reliever Chad Durbin to end the seventh with a runner on first.
Ryan Madson walked one in a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances.
Victorino, who had three hits, doubled off Mike Pelfrey (11-7) with two outs in the third to drive in Rollins, who singled and stole second and third for a 1-0 lead. Victorino singled and stole second in the fifth before scoring on Placido Polanco’s single, and Werth tripled and scored on Carlos Ruiz’s hit past diving third baseman Wright, who was playing in, to make it 3-1 in the sixth.
“It’s all about me and Jimmy setting the table and we were able to do that tonight,” Victorino said.
In the third, Kendrick (8-5) hit what appeared to be a bloop single to right field but Angel Pagan, playing shallow, fielded the ball on one hop and threw the Phillies starter out at first base.
Kendrick had no embarrassing moments on the mound. He bounced back from a rough start against the Dodgers on Tuesday to limit the Mets’ anemic offense to six hits – only one after the third – in 6 2-3 innings.
Pelfrey had his second solid start after seven dismal outings, giving up seven hits and three runs over seven innings.
“It’d be nice to pick up our pitchers,” Wright said, “and score some runs for them on a consistent basis.”
Greg Dobbs made his first start of the season at first base for the Phillies because Ryan Howard is on the disabled list and Ross Gload was nursing a strained right groin.
Rookie first baseman Ike Davis gave the Mets a scare when in the eighth inning he flipped over the railing of the camera well next to New York’s dugout trying for a foul ball. Davis, who has made a couple of catches falling over the rail, flipped over but landed on his feet.
Notes: Phillies 2B Chase Utley was 0 for 3 in his second rehab outing for Class A Clearwater. He also made an error. Utley could return to the team in this week. … Mets owner Fred Wilpon declined to answer questions from reporters before the game. He said “Nope. I’ve got to go to the University of Michigan.” An alum of the blue and maize, Wilpon was hosting a get-together at Citi Field for the school’s incoming freshmen who live in the New York area. … Howard’s ankle was feeling a bit sore Sunday and it’s unlikely he will be activated from the DL on Tuesday when he is eligible.
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