Mets order seven in seventh for victory

Mets order seven in seventh for victory

NEW YORK -- When Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado played together in Toronto, the two left-handed-swinging sluggers would have a contest during batting practice to see who could hit the most home runs to the opposite field. Over time, the duo became so adept at going the other way that, in the batting practice game, they would create a point system for hitting different spots in left field.

Soon, the two carried the skill set into live games. The reward at the end of the month for the most points: dinner at the expense of the losing combatant. Now that Green and Delgado are teammates again, the battle has begun anew.

Following Saturday's impressive game, in which the Mets routed the Phillies, 11-5, Green will most likely want to pick up the tab for his good friend. But Delgado might offer to get the tip.

The pair combined with Endy Chavez to go 8-for-12 and had seven of the Mets' 11 RBIs.

Soon, though, the dinner table will most likely have to be extended to include every offensive player on the Mets, who produced 15 hits against starter Jon Lieber and the Phillies bullpen. Carlos Beltran had a two-run homer -- though he pulled it to right field -- while Chris Woodward contributed with a pinch-hit, opposite-field single to score two runs. In fact, every position player except David Wright had at least one hit and every position player scored at least once.

"This lineup is so impressive, from top to bottom," said Green, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run. "Someone's always on. There's hitters who hit from gap-to-gap like Delgado and Beltran, a lead-off batter who gets on, someone like Chavez in the eight-hole. It's pretty special."

Green was so enthralled by his new surroundings that, at one point during a break in the game, he turned to Beltran from his spot in right field and said, "Man, this feels weird.

"Whenever the Cardinals would come play us [the Diamondbacks or Dodgers], they always brought that intimidation factor. Now, it seems like this team can do anything and that tops what the Cardinals brought."

Beltran punctuated a bit of that intimidation when he belted his 38th homer of the season -- and the 200th of his career -- in the first inning off Lieber. Beltran's homer equals his career best in a season, which he achieved with Kansas City and Houston in 2004, and the 22-home run improvement over last season, when he hit 16 homers, is the largest in Mets history. With the two RBIs, Beltran has 108 for the season, tying the career high he set in 1999 with the Royals.

"It means a lot," said Beltran. "It means that everything's still there. All the hard work I did in the offseason and what I do off the field is paying off this year."

Oliver Perez, meanwhile, pitched brilliantly for the first four innings, holding the Phillies hitless with six strikeouts. The recently recalled Perez, who was acquired in a trade with the Pirates at the deadline, then became erratic in the fifth, giving up five runs that included a grand slam by Ryan Howard.

The never-say-quit Mets, though, battled back to record their 31st come-from-behind win of the season.

In the sixth, after Lieber walked Beltran to start the inning, Delgado belted his 33rd homer of the season over the left-center-field wall. Delgado and Beltran now have connected for home runs in the same game for the 10th time this season, setting a new franchise record.

Lieber escaped further damage in the inning even though he loaded the bases with one out. The Phillies right-hander, who had not allowed a walk to the Mets his previous two starts against them this month, induced pinch-hitter Julio Franco into an inning-ending double play.

But the Phillies' bullpen imploded in the seventh as the Mets rang up seven runs, highlighted by Green's opposite-field double that Pat Burrell barely missed. The hit came with the bases loaded and resulted in the loudest ovation for Green from the Flushing faithful.

"These fans are amazing," said Green. "I've been really excited the past few days and I was pressing a little bit. I settled down and hit the ball nice and easy tonight."

Later in the inning, Chavez delivered with a double to the right-field gap that scored two. Then Woodward smacked a two-run single to right.

"[Chavez] is an important part of this club," said Delgado. "He gets the bat on the ball, he bunts, plays unbelievable defense, has great speed. He's just maximizing his potential."

Chavez went 4-for-4 and tied a career high with four hits in a game. The right fielder had three singles, including a bunt, and the double.

After Perez was relieved in the sixth, the Mets' bullpen, behind Darren Oliver, Pedro Feliciano and Guillermo Mota, held the Phillies with two hits the rest of the way. Feliciano earned his sixth win of the season. The Mets bullpen has allowed only two earned runs in its last 23 2/3 innings.

"I'm proud of our guys, all of them, from Perez to the way we battled back," manager Willie Randolph said. "It's become commonplace for us. We've been fighting back all year like that and we'll continue to do so."

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.