Phils stun Mets with improbable victory

Phils stun Mets with improbable win

PHILADELPHIA -- Forget the myriad details that preceded the final exhilarating moment when the Phillies, gasp, somehow actually won Tuesday's game, a triumphant 8-7, 13-inning win over the Mets in five hours and 17 minutes.

To the front of your memory, let the image of Chris Coste lacing a game-winning single over a drawn-in outfield -- and the mob scene that followed -- sit for the next half-day. Now realize these teams are scheduled to do this again Wednesday.

OK, breathe.

"A good game, a great game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "A lot of things happened."

Too much to mention. Whether the retelling of Tuesday's win begins with the rally-starting double by pitcher Clay Condrey, one of the two-run homers clubbed by Ryan Howard or Jimmy Rollins, or Eric Bruntlett's game-tying double in the ninth -- made possible by the first third-base appearance by catcher Carlos Ruiz -- it's going to end with the Phillies a half-game ahead of the Mets in the National League East.

After dropping nine of the first 13 meetings to New York, the Phillies found the most painful way to climb into sole possession of first place for the first time since Aug. 12. They first fell behind, 7-0, to Pedro Martinez, who had allowed four or fewer runs in his previous five outings.

"Unbelievable," Chad Durbin said, then repeated it.

Unbelievable.

Shane Victorino led off the 13th with a triple off Scott Schoeneweis, the eighth Mets pitcher. That forced the Mets to walk the bases loaded. Pitcher Brett Myers provided some early morning comic relief, taking a bat with him to the plate under strict orders not to swing.

"That's what I told him," Manuel said. "I also told him [after], 'You can follow orders.' We thought about letting him fake a squeeze, but I told him no because Victorino might break for the plate."

Myers gesticulated, moving his arms and feet in an attempt to distract Schoeneweis. The count reached 3-2 before Myers fanned -- looking of course. Coste lofted a fly ball beyond Carlos Beltran, and the Philadelphia portion of the 45,204 fans rejoiced.

The Phillies never let up, rallying to pick up Jamie Moyer after a rare poor outing. The 45-year-old was pounded for six runs in three innings, snapping a string of 14 straight outings of allowing three runs or fewer.

Philadelphia broke through with a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, then pounded out four in the fifth -- on two-run home runs by Howard and Rollins, one of his career-high-tying five hits.

Condrey preceded Rollins' homer with a broken-bat double down the left-field line.

"I think the bat was broken two pitches before," Condrey said. "I hit a fly ball off the end, and it had a mark. I checked it, but what do I know? It sounded fine. I need to look at the tape and see exactly where I hit it. It felt like I hit it pretty good."

After a pause, Condrey added, "I like to think I was the inspiration behind the rally, but I doubt that's the case."

Then again?

"I don't think there's any question he kicked off the run-scoring barrage," said Coste, who entered the game in the eighth and had four hits. "That kind of kicked us in the butt. If the pitcher can double off Pedro Martinez, then why isn't anybody else getting hits? That jokingly is the way it felt."

There was more. Rollins, who stoked the ire of Mets fans by proclaiming the Phillies as the "team to beat" in 2007, and continues to be the lightning rod for the rivalry, suggested that Phillies players noticed some Mets celebrating a bit too much when they ran their lead to 7-0.

Fernando Tatis danced before touching home plate following a three-run homer off Moyer, and Rollins suggested that he and some teammates noticed some Mets carrying on in the dugout. Add that to a still-fresh memory of Jose Reyes wagging his finger after hitting a big July 23 home run, and call it motivation.

"The other team gives you inspiration, let's put it that way," Rollins said. "We were able to take that and keep ourselves motivated. You're looking over in that other dugout, you feel a certain type of way. You try to find something on any team, but especially these guys."

"Those guys" gave up a seven-run lead, and may have given the Phillies a major push needed to win the NL East.

We now interrupt this game story for a flashback to Aug. 30, 2007, in Philadelphia. The Phillies rallied for an 11-10 win against the Mets. Though not by itself, that win capped a four-game sweep and showed the Phillies that the division could be had.

The Mets stopped scoring after the fourth inning, and the Phillies never stopped.

"If we go on to win the division, this will be the game to look back on," Coste said. "Whether we won this game or lost it, it wasn't going to make or break the year, but the way in which we won it reinforces the fact that the Phillies are never out of the game, regardless of the score."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.