NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Pelfrey stood frozen on the mound, barely moving when Shane Victorino's shot banged off the right-field wall. No turning around to follow the play, no running to back up any bases.
Pelfrey looked lost even before the New York Mets had lost, ending his season the way it started with another poor outing. Battered, he was pulled after three innings during a 9-4 rout by the Philadelphia Phillies.
``I wanted to finish strong and obviously that didn't - furthest thing from it,' he said.
Pelfrey (7-13) wound up with one win in his last 12 starts. Not exactly what he or the Mets envisioned.
The right-hander went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA last year and, with ace Johan Santana still recovering from shoulder surgery, Pelfrey became the opening-day starter. He lasted only 4 1-3 innings in dropping that first game at Florida and rarely found his rhythm.
``The first half didn't go the way I wanted it, the second half didn't go and the year didn't go how I wanted it,' Pelfrey said.
He wound up with a 4.74 ERA and only once won consecutive starts.
``I tried to be perfect, you know, to be too good,' he said.
Jimmy Rollins led off this game with a single and Hunter Pence homered with one out. Ryan Howard followed with a single and Victorino then doubled, leaving Pelfrey befuddled.
Mets manager Terry Collins was sorry to see how it ended. But after Pelfrey gave up five runs and nine hits, he was yanked.
``I was looking forward to Mike having a good start, to finishing this whole thing off,' Collins said. ``I knew what the Phillies lineup was going to look like today. I knew they were going to play everybody. So what a great finish if he went out there and gave us some good quality innings.'
Asked whether he might give Pelfrey an inning or two in the season finale Wednesday against Cincinnati, maybe to let the big 27-year-old close on a high note, Collins said: ``I doubt it.'
As Collins predicted, Pence and the fully loaded Phillies looked ready for the playoffs in every way.
Roy Halladay pitched six dominant innings, Pence homered early and the NL East champions snapped their eight-game losing streak.
Playing their regular lineup for the first time since clinching their fifth straight division title, the Phillies posted their major league-leading 99th victory.
``It's a matter of getting everybody out there and getting the rhythm of the lineup,' Howard said. ``Everybody kind of exploded today.'
``Hopefully, we can keep it together through October,' he said.
Pence homered during a three-run first inning, each starter had a hit by the third and Carlos Ruiz's single made it 9-0 in the fourth.
That was plenty for Halladay (19-6). He tuned up for his expected start in Game 1 of the NL playoffs Saturday by throwing six scoreless innings of four-hit ball. Last year's unanimous Cy Young Award winner finished this regular season with a career-best 2.35 ERA.
Halladay won his eighth straight start against the Mets and closed his outing by fanning Nick Evans with the bases loaded. It was Halladay's third strikeout of the game - that was his 220th of the year, one more than his previous high.
The Phillies' skid was their longest since 2000, and the worst by any big league team after wrapping up first place since the World Series began in 1903, STATS LLC said.
``I think we're still a confident group, it didn't just disappear,' Halladay said.
Ruiz went 4 for 4 with a walk. His two-run hit in the fourth drew a mixed response from the crowd, with Phillies fans cheering his ``Chooch' nickname and Mets fans simply booing.
Pence also tripled, singled and walked. He made a costly error Saturday night in his first start since missing three games because of a strained knee.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel quickly began pulling his All-Stars. Howard came out for a pinch-runner in the fourth to rest a sore foot and Rollins left following the sixth. The romp sent the Phillies to Atlanta for a season-ending three-game series against the NL wild-card leaders.
With their 83rd loss, the Mets matched last year's total.
The Mets had won three in a row, but Pence's 21st home run on Pelfrey's 10th pitch put them behind for good. Ronny Paulino hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo.
Mets fans, however, did get a good laugh when third baseman Justin Turner tripped and fell face-first over the mound chasing a popup. Later, they loudly cheered a New York score - by the Giants, that is, when highlights of their NFL game against the Eagles were shown on the video board.
NOTES: The Mets host Cincinnati starting Monday night. Chris Schwinden (0-2, 5.06) starts for New York vs. Homer Bailey (9-7, 4.32). ... Mets SS Jose Reyes went 2 for 4, raising his average to .331. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun leads the NL at .333. ... Mets RF Mike Baxter made a fine catch while sliding into foul ground. ... Mets 1B coach Mookie Wilson has left the team for the rest of the season after the death of his sister. Wally Backman coached in his place, wearing No. 86 - he was part of the Mets' championship team in 1986.
The Associated Press News Service
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