(AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies used one big inning to beat the New York Mets in this series opener. Johan Santana knows all too well about the Phillies’ ability to put runs on the board in a hurry.
Santana’s last visit to Philadelphia resulted in the worst start of his career, a performance the Mets ace can avenge Saturday night as he attempts to snap the red-hot Phillies’ 12-game home winning streak.
Philadelphia (61-48) won the final four games of its six-game road trip and returned home Friday night having won 11 straight at Citizens Bank Park.
That streak was in jeopardy with New York up 2-1 in the eighth inning, but the Mets bullpen blew up from there. Seven straight hitters reached base to start the inning as Philadelphia rallied for a 7-5 victory, extending its longest home winning streak since a 16-game run at Veterans Stadium in 1991.
“It was a great team win,” said Mike Sweeney, who had two hits in the eighth just two days after arriving from Seattle in a waiver deal. “It’s exciting to come to the ballpark every day. This is a dream come true.”
It’s been all or nothing for the NL champions against New York (54-55) this season. Philadelphia didn’t score during a three-game series at Citi Field from May 25-27, but Friday marked its third straight home game against the Mets with at least six runs in one inning.
Santana (8-6, 3.20 ERA) was on the mound for one of them. The Phillies scored nine times in the fourth inning in an 11-5 win May 2, chasing the two-time Cy Young Award winner after 3 2-3 innings as he was charged with a career-high 10 runs – including four homers.
“You’d like to think he’s a machine and never makes mistakes,” third baseman David Wright told the Mets’ official website at the time. “But he’s human. It happens.”
Santana’s career ERA against the Phillies, 2.90 coming in, rose to 4.11.
After going 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in his first five outings of July, Santana has been much less effective lately. He gave up seven runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 13-inning loss July 28 against St. Louis, then yielded four runs over seven innings in a 4-1 loss at Atlanta on Monday despite striking out a season-high 11.
The Phillies won’t have injured regulars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley or Shane Victorino to challenge Santana this time, but they’ve been surviving just fine without their stars. Philadelphia has scored at least five runs in six consecutive games for the first time all season.
Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz have led the way. Ibanez is hitting .406 with 15 RBIs since the All-Star break, and he’s a .357 hitter against Santana. Ruiz, who singled home the go-ahead run Friday, is batting .444 with 14 RBIs in his last 10 games.
The Phillies will start Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.56), who hasn’t recorded a decision in four outings since the break. Philadelphia has won all four games, however, including a 6-4, 11-inning victory at Washington on Sunday after Hamels gave up four runs over seven innings while striking out 10.
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park but lost his only outing against them this year in New York, allowing three runs – two earned – in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-0 loss May 27.
Jeff Francoeur, who had three hits Friday, is 7 for 13 with a homer versus Hamels over the past two seasons.