Saturday, September 25, 1999

Phillies 3, Mets 2

The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — Mike Lieberthal's RBI single off Armando Benitez capped a two-run eighth-inning rally that gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 3-2 victory over the Mets on Friday night, New York's fourth straight loss.

        The Mets, still stunned from their three losses to NL East-leading Atlanta, further jeopardized their playoff hopes by blowing a 2-1 lead.

        After Masato Yoshii pitched seven strong innings, Dennis Cook started the eighth and walked pinch-hitter Kevin Sefcik. Cook kicked the mound angrily when he was replaced by Turk Wendell, who retired Doug Glanville and Ron Gant.

        But manager Bobby Valentine brought in right-handed closer Benitez (3-3) to face the left-handed hitting Bobby Abreu, who is second in the league in batting. With first base open, after a steal, Abreu doubled home Sefcik on a full count for the tying run.

        Lieberthal hit Benitez's first pitch to right, scoring Abreu with the go-ahead run for the Phillies' fifth win in 28 games. Scott Aldred pitched a perfect ninth for his first major league save.

        The Mets fell five games behind the Braves, who beat Montreal 4-3 in 10 innings. Their lead in the wild-card race was cut to one game by Cincinnati, which beat St. Louis 5-4.

        Joe Grahe (1-3) allowed two runs — one earned — and nine hits in eight innings with no walks and two strikeouts. It was his first victory since 1995 and longest outing since 1991.

        Robin Ventura hit his 31st homer and John Olerud — 1-for-13 against the Braves — made it 2-1 with an RBI single in the fifth.

        Yoshii allowed one run and four hits. He walked two and struck out three.

        The Mets' nightmare at Turner Field prompted a pep talk by Valentine following a 6-3 loss Thursday. It worked, until the eighth.

        “The team has been addressed,” Valentine said. “They're good and they won. We're good and we lost. They're not perfect, and neither are we.”

        New York had runners at first and second in three straight innings and failed to get any of them in. After Ventura's one-out homer in the second, Darryl Hamilton and Roger Cedeno both singled before Rey Ordonez grounded into a 1-6-3 double play.

        Olerud struck out with runners at first and second in the third, and Rickey Henderson was thrown out trying to steal third on a double steal for another double play. Ordonez grounded out with runners at first and second and two outs in the fourth.

        The Phillies tied it when Glanville broke up Yoshii's perfect game with a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on Lieberthal's RBI single.

        Olerud made it 2-1 and ended New York's string of stranding runners with a two-out RBI single in the fifth that scored Yoshii, who reached on third baseman Kevin Jordan's throwing error.


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