The newest entry on the Mets' disabled list, John Maine, was added on Thursday night after the Phillies had taken the series finale in 10 innings, 6-3. Five of the team's 15 frontline players -- Maine, Oliver Perez, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and J.J. Putz -- are now out of commission.
For a team that has lost seven of 11 games, each day seems to bring another challenge. Maine will take a few days off before he begins rehabbing his right shoulder, which was surgically repaired in the fall. His team has no such option. There are three weekend games in the Bronx, unless nature interferes, and then three in Baltimore.
"We don't need days off, we need players," Ryan Church said.
And that was before Maine went down and before a three-run homer by Raul Ibanez off Ken Takahashi had done what a bases-empty home run by Chase Utley against Bobby Parnell had done in the 11th inning on Wednesday night.
"They've got a little power, and the longer you play with that fire, the more risk there is," manager Jerry Manuel said.
The 21st home run of Ibanez's rampaging season -- the Phillies' sixth in the three-game series -- was their 85th overall and the 31st they have hit after the sixth inning. Moreover, they are second in the National League in runs scored after the seventh inning, with 113.
The Mets' runs came in the first, third and fifth innings. Only two hits came in the final five frames -- David Wright's third hit of the night, in the sixth, which was followed by a double play, and Omir Santos' leadoff single in the 10th. Phillies starter Jamie Moyer, who pitched six innings, and four relievers faced one more than the minimum number of batters after the fifth.
The Mets kept pace in this one because Tim Redding provided the level of pitching that Manuel says the team needs in each game to remain competitive. Now the No. 4 starter, Redding pitched seven innings for the first time in his five 2009 starts. He allowed six hits, struck out six and, like Moyer, walked no one. Moyer allowed eight hits, struck out three and hit one batter.
And the bullpen backed up Redding until the 10th, when Manuel, out of alternatives he was comfortable using, summoned Takahashi despite the pitcher's brief resume. Manuel had used left-hander Pedro Feliciano to navigate the eighth, when Shane Victorino, Utley, Ryan Howard and Ibanez batted. Manuel wasn't inclined to have Francisco Rodriguez pitch, he said, unless it was in a "winning situation."
So after Victorino singled off losing pitcher Parnell (2-2) with one out in the 10th, Manuel asked Takahashi to deal with Utley, Howard and Ibanez, though he had said on Tuesday that he was opposed to using the Japanese left-hander against the Phillies' left-handed power hitters. Left-handed hitters were batting .440 in 25 at-bats against Takahashi before he walked Utley and struck out Howard. Now they're batting .444.
Ibanez hit a 1-1 pitch into the Mets' bullpen, all but securing the Phillies' 20th come-from-behind victory.
"I was aware of [Ibanez's] hitting abilities. He's a great hitter, and I gave it my best, but that was the result," Takahashi said through a translator. "This was something that was not common for me in Japan, to come and face a lot of lefties."
The Mets had led in this one, as they had on Wednesday. Carlos Beltran had driven in their three runs, one with a groundout, one with a double and another with a sacrifice fly, Luis Castillo scoring on all three and Alex Cora contributing to each.
"We have to manufacture runs now," Beltran said several times.
Beltran suggested that the Mets, their offense so compromised by injury, now must perform perfectly in all phases to win.
"We can't afford to make mistakes," Beltran said.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.