PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Maybe next time, Dillon Gee will intentionally walk Ryan Howard.
Howard continued his domination of Gee, homering twice off the Mets right-hander, and New York's comeback from a six-run deficit was wiped out by Kevin Frandsen's pinch-hit homer leading off the ninth that lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-7 victory on Saturday.
Howard improved to 7 for 15 with six homers and 14 RBIs lifetime against Gee.
``He definitely hits me,' Gee said. ``No matter what I throw, he hits it out of the park.'
Howard, apparently, didn't want to jinx his performance against Gee.
``I feel all right,' Howard said, when asked about facing Gee. ``I'm not going to talk about my hitting.'
Howard's two-run single to right in the first gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead. He led off the fourth with a solo homer to right and launched a two-out solo homer to deep right in the fifth.
``He knows Howard kills him,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ``We almost have to pitch around him.'
In spite of Howard's prowess, the Mets nearly came back from a 7-1 deficit after six innings.
The Mets were trailing by two runs before Jordany Valdespin homered off Jonathan Papelbon (2-0) with one out in the ninth to pull New York within 7-6. After David Wright reached on an error, Papelbon got Marlon Byrd to fly out for the second out.
With Wright running and shortstop Jimmy Rollins moving toward second base to cover, Daniel Murphy singled to left-center. Center fielder Ben Revere bobbled the ball and Wright scored all the way from first to tie the game at 7.
``Great jump and great baserunning,' Collins said. ``We came back and made it a baseball game. We hung in there and got big hits. We just couldn't hold them.'
Papelbon started the week having converted all 13 of his save opportunities, but has blown three of his last four chances.
``It happens to all closers,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ``(Brad) Lidge (48 for 48 in 2008) is the only one I know who was perfect.'
Frandsen gave him the win, though, by launching the second pitch from Carlos Torres (0-1) into the left-field stands. It was Frandsen's first career pinch-hit homer and game-ending homer. Frandsen said he also hit a game-winning homer off Torres during a summer-league game while both were in college.
``He wants to show people he can play,' Manuel said.
Said Howard, ``He's ready to go when his number is called. He's been that guy that wants to step up. It's no surprise.'
Domonic Brown had a pair of doubles for Philadelphia, and Jonathan Pettibone allowed one run in six innings before leaving with a back injury.
Valdespin drove in three runs and Omar Quintanilla had three hits and an RBI for the Mets.
``That is an absolutely great comeback,' Collins said. ``To come back in a game like that, that far, that big, I wouldn't have thought it.'
Gee also was impressed by the rally.
``I can't give enough credit to these guys,' Gee said. ``The way they battled back was amazing. .If I was a little better, we would have won this game.'
But he couldn't get out Howard.
The slugger's hitting has been under scrutiny for much of the season, but he has heated up of late and is batting .439 with 3 homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
``It's a long season,' Howard said. ``I think people get so caught up in what it is you're doing right now and you forget it's 162 games. It's kind of like it comes when it comes. Over the course of the season you're going to have ups and downs.'
Gee also continued his struggles against the Phillies, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits in five innings. He is 2-3 with a 7.66 ERA in nine games (eight starts) in his career against Philadelphia. He entered 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA in his last four starts.
``I had nothing I could command,' Gee said. ``It was just a bad day. I was all over the place and they made me pay for it. . I just have to pick up the pieces and hopefully start another roll.'
Young preceded Howard's second homer of the game with a solo shot of his own. Young also has success against Gee, improving to 8 for 11 with three homers against him.
Pettibone injured himself while batting early in the game. He drew boos when he didn't run out a weak grounder, but clearly there was something bothering him as he clutched his lower back on his way back to the dugout. Pettibone warmed up before the seventh, but exited without throwing a pitch in the inning. The Phillies announced later in the game that he was experiencing lower back tightness.
He left with the Phillies ahead 7-1 after allowing one run on five hits with a walk and a strikeout in six innings.
``I felt like I could go at least another inning, if not another two,' said Pettibone, who doesn't expect to miss a start.
The Phillies needed three relievers to get through the seventh when the Mets scored four runs on two hits.
Michael Stutes relieved Pettibone but didn't retire any of the four batters he faced, giving up four runs (three earned) on one hit and two walks. Eric Young's two-run double to left off Justin De Fratus pulled New York within 7-4. After Valdespin's groundout made it 7-5, De Fratus struck out Wright and, two batters later, Jake Diekman came on and struck out Murphy to end the threat.
``You're sitting there hoping somebody holds them, somebody gets some outs,' Manuel said. ``We got enough.'
Revere had a pair of hits and an RBI for Philadelphia to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
NOTES: The Phillies placed right-handed reliever Mike Adams on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis and called up right-hander J.C. Ramirez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. To make room for Ramirez on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated infielder Michael Martinez for assignment. ... The Mets' Lucas Duda returned to New York before Saturday's game to have an MRI on his left side. Duda, who is batting .235 with 11 homers and 23 RBIs in 68 games, felt discomfort following New York's 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Friday night. ... New York right-hander Matt Harvey (6-1, 2.16) is scheduled to face Phillies lefty John Lannan (0-1, 5.49) in the finale of the three-game set at 1:35 Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
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