Mets' bullpen falters again
Moyer helps Phillies extend lead
Another late lead and another bullpen meltdown for the New York Mets.
The Atlanta Braves rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and a 7-6 win yesterday that stalled visiting New York's playoff push.
The Mets fell 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East as the Phillies beat Florida, 5-2. New York's edge in the wild-card race was cut to 1 1/2 games by Milwaukee, which beat Cincinnati, 8-1. However, the Mets' final seven games will be at home.
Down, 4-3, Atlanta struck in the eighth against Scott Schoeneweis (2-5) and three other relievers. It was the latest collapse for a beleaguered bullpen missing injured closer Billy Wagner. The relievers have a league-high 16 blown saves since the All-Star break, the worst in the NL. Schoeneweis has lost three games since Aug. 26 and the relievers have a woeful 2-8 record since Aug. 11.
"It's kind of a shocking thing. No explanation. Our starting pitchers and offense have carried us," Schoeneweis said.
The Mets' Carlos Delgado hit a two-run homer, his 37th, in the ninth off Mike Gonzalez. But the lefthander struck out the next two batters for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Phillies 5, Marlins 2 - Jamie Moyer pitched six strong innings and Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz homered as visiting Philadelphia beat Florida for its ninth win in 10 games.
Moyer, 45, improved to 11-1 against Florida, with the lone loss coming the last time he faced them Aug. 5.
Moyer (15-7) departed after 94 pitches with a 3-1 lead. Five relievers took care of the final three innings, including Brad Lidge, who threw 29 pitches in the ninth and stranded two runners for his 40th save in as many chances.
Brewers 8, Reds 1 - Prince Fielder homered and drove in three runs, helping visiting Milwaukee end one of the most bizarre weeks in its history with a victory over Cincinnati that provided one day's solace for a fading team.
The Brewers won for only the fifth time in 20 games, but are still only 1 1/2 games behind the Mets - two in the loss column - for the NL wild card.
Milwaukee started September with a 5 1/2-game lead in the wild-card race, then collapsed. The Brewers fired manager Ned Yost last Monday, an unprecedented move to try to relax the team. But it only got worse.
Righthander Ben Sheets had to leave a game after two innings because of a sore elbow, leaving his status uncertain for as long as the season lasts.
The toughest blow came Thursday, when the Brewers took a 6-2 lead into the ninth at Wrigley Field and got two outs before closer Solomon Torres let it slip away. A day later, the Reds hit seven homers off a dispirited pitching staff.
"We're not eliminated, so it has to be good," Fielder said. "This is baseball. You never know what could happen. The [teams] in front of us could do what we did - play good baseball and kaplowie. As long as we just play our game and see what happens, we'll be all right. At least we'll be able to sleep at night."
Giants 1, Dodgers 0 - Rich Aurilia hit a two-out, RBI single in the 11th inning, lifting visiting San Francisco to a victory over Los Angeles, trimming the Dodgers' NL West lead over Arizona to 2 1/2 games.
Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 4 - Chris Young went 3 for 5 with four RBIs and Dan Haren (16-8) added three hits as Arizona won in Denver.
White Sox 3, Royals 0 - John Danks (11-8) and two relievers combined on a four-hitter and Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer as Chicago, the AL Central leader, won in Kansas City to maintain its 2 1/2-game lead over Minnesota.
Yankees 7, Orioles 3 - In the last game at Yankee Stadium, Johnny Damon and Jose Molina homered to back Andy Pettitte (14-14) as New York avoided being eliminated from the playoff race.
Elsewhere - Ryan Garko went 4 for 4 with five RBIs and rookie Scott Lewis won his third straight start as host Cleveland won its sixth straight game, 10-5, over sloppy and seemingly disinterested Detroit. The Tigers were charged with four wild pitches - three by starter Dontrelle Willis - walked nine, made two errors, misplayed a few balls and lost for the ninth time in 10 games . . . John Lackey (12-4) gave up two hits and struck out a career-high 12 in six shutout innings and Mark Teixeira and Sean Rodriguez homered as Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep in Texas, 7-3 . . . Ryan Dempster (17-6) worked five innings, giving up six hits and a run as the Cubs, despite starting only one regular in the lineup, beat St. Louis, 5-1, in Chicago . . . Jack Cust hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as Oakland beat Seattle, 5-3, to hand the visiting Mariners their 11th straight loss . . . Roy Oswalt (16-10) held host Pittsburgh to one run over six innings and catcher Brad Ausmus drove in two runs to lead Houston to a 6-2 victory . . . Adrian Gonzalez's 35th homer and Kevin Kouzmanoff's three RBIs backed Cha Seung Baek's strong start as visiting San Diego beat Washington, 6-2.