|Pitching coach Rick Peterson calms the Mets' Oliver Perez in the eighth. Perez earned his 15th victory. (WILFREDO LEE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Mets win, hold off Phillies
NY's faraway fans fuel 2d victory in 19 hours
Hand-held noisemakers were the promotional giveaway yesterday at Miami's Dolphin Stadium, which allowed the many transplanted New Yorkers in the stands to create quite a din for their first-place Mets.
Buoyed by the support, the Mets strengthened their hold on the NL East by beating the Florida Marlins, 7-2.
"It's a great feeling when you go on the road and have so many fans pulling for you," Mets slugger Carlos Beltran said.
The announced crowd was 22,517, with the majority rooting for the visitors, and they had plenty to cheer about. Oliver Perez (15-9) pitched eight innings, Ramon Castro hit a three-run homer, and Moises Alou extended his hitting streak to a team record-tying 26 games.
"We were in Miami," losing pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim said, "but it felt like New York."
"Sometimes when you get one win, it seems like three," manager Willie Randolph said. "That's the way it feels right now, because they're all huge."
Too bad for the Mets they play only one more game in Miami, where they're 7-1 this year. "It's a good feeling when the Mets fans outnumber the Marlins fans," New York third baseman David Wright said. "It's kind of our home away from home."
Phillies 4, Nationals 1 - Ryan Howard drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, helping visiting Philadelphia beat Washington in 10 innings and keep pace in the NL East.
Chase Utley homered for the Phillies, who won for the ninth time in 10 games and remained 1 1/2 games back of the Mets in the division.
Howard tied his career high for a game by striking out in his previous four at-bats, but after a single by Utley and a walk by Pat Burrell, came back to line a pitch off Chris Schroder and drive in the go-ahead run.
Rockies 6, Padres 2 - Brad Hawpe drove in two runs and visiting Colorado matched a season-high with their seventh straight win, closing on wild card-leading San Diego with a victory.
Hawpe went 4 for 4 with a walk one night after hitting the go-ahead home run in the 14th inning of a 2-1 win.
Cubs 9, Pirates 5 - Alfonso Soriano hit two of Chicago's four homers and had five RBIs in the hosts' decision over Pittsburgh. The Cubs increased their lead in the NL Central to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee, which lost at Atlanta.
Soriano hit a solo shot to tie the score in the second and a two-run blast in the fifth for his team-leading 31st homer.
Braves 4, Brewers 3 - Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks made an error on a routine grounder in the 11th inning and Mark Teixeira followed with an RBI single, giving host Atlanta the win.
The Brewers were one out away in the 10th when closer Francisco Cordero gave up a tying home run to Scott Thorman.
Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 2 - Rookies Chris Young and Mark Reynolds homered for the second night in a row, and NL West-leading Arizona beat crumbling Los Angeles in Phoenix.
Cardinals 7, Astros 4 - Rick Ankiel homered for the first time in 17 games and Albert Pujols delivered a key pinch hit, leading host St. Louis over Houston.
Giants 2, Reds 0 - Pinch-hitter Ray Durham broke up a scoreless tie with a two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning and host San Francisco snapped a four-game losing streak.
Athletics 9, Indians 3 - Dan Haren pitched six strong innings and Jack Cust homered as Oakland delayed host Cleveland from winning the AL Central. Mark Ellis homered and drove in three runs as the A's spoiled Cleveland's plans of wrapping up its first division title since 2001.
Royals 7, Tigers 4 - Mark Grudzielanek got the best of Kenny Rogers, collecting four hits and scoring three times as Kansas City moved host Detroit to the verge of playoff elimination.
Mariners 3, Angels 2 - Visiting Seattle again put Anaheim's celebration on hold, with Miguel Batista pitching into the sixth inning and Ichiro Suzuki scoring a run and driving in another.
White Sox 8, Twins 3 - Rookie Jerry Owens went 5 for 6 with three RBIs in a win at the Metrodome.
Orioles 11, Rangers 9 - Nick Markakis homered and had a career-high five RBIs, including a the go-ahead two-run double that sent visiting Baltimore past Texas.