NEW YORK -- The law of averages dictates that the Phillies will lose to the Mets eventually. Right? Eventually stayed away from the Mets' 45th and final home opener at Shea Stadium, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Phils on Tuesday, disappointing the largest Opening Day crowd (56,350) in franchise history.
The Phillies haven't lost to their division rivals since June 30, 2007, at Citizens Bank Park, and also snapped an 0-for-7 losing streak when participating in New York's home opener. Are these Phillies in the Mets' heads? "I've been on the other side," said reigning National League MVP Jimmy Rollins. "The Marlins had our number for a long time [in 2003-04], and we found a way to beat them. With the Marlins, it wasn't mental. We'd make one mistake and they'd jump on it. Some of the comeback wins against these guys, they've made a mistake and we capitalized." The ninth straight win happened in a similar manner. The Phillies did little against starter Oliver Perez, who threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings, then pounced on Scott Schoeneweis' wildness and a Carlos Delgado throwing error to take the lead in the seventh. Schoeneweis allowed one-out singles to Rollins and Shane Victorino, then hit Chase Utley, the third time he was hit with a pitch, tying a Major League record. With the bases loaded, Ryan Howard bounced a slow hopper to Delgado, who went to second to start an inning-ending double play. Utley took an outside route to second base, thinking he might get in the line of fire. Delgado's throw hit Utley in the right arm and bounced into center field. Two runs scored, tying the game. "That was the best one," Utley said. "It was kind of a funny feeling out there. I wouldn't have believed it. I've never been hit that often before, but you have to take them when you can." Jayson Werth singled in the go-ahead run off Jorge Sosa, and Rollins added an insurance run with an eighth-inning RBI single. The Mets went down quietly after that, and Tom Gordon subbed for Brad Lidge -- who had pitched two straight days -- to toss a perfect ninth. Winning is easy when one team has the other's number. "I don't know if you can say, it's having one's number," Victorino said. "We'll go out there [Wednesday] and play nine. We're not going out there saying, 'We own the Mets' or anything like that. That's not the attitude we have. [On Wednesday], we'll forget about beating them nine straight." Mets closer Billy Wagner, a former Phillie, feels the same way. "All of us are tired of hearing that the Phillies have our number," Wagner said. "The Phillies don't have our number. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot. There's confidence on their side, but there's no lack of confidence over here saying that we can't get those guys out, or that our hitters aren't as good as their hitters. We're a good team, and we know we're going to go out there and a month from now, we'll be hearing a different story." The Phillies prefer the current plot line of winning in many different ways, and they love being on the favorable side of the rivalry. Rollins loves being in the middle of it. With 56,350 showering him with the loudest boos during pregame introductions, Rollins emerged from the dugout and tipped his cap, soliciting more "applause." "I had other things in mind, but that was probably the most polite," Rollins said. He was much ruder with singles in the seventh and eighth innings, and likely upset fans more.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.