7,538: Homers aplenty, but Santana secures win with bat, glove

Citi Field homerfest

Johan Santana gave up four round-trippers but used his bat to help his team retake the lead Tuesday night as the Mets topped the Phillies 6-5 in rare Citi Field homerfest.

With runners and first and second with one out in the sixth, Santana faked a two-strike sacrifice bunt and drove a hanging slider down the right field line for an RBI double to tie the game at 4. Alex Cora followed a couple batters later with a single up the middle to give New York a 5-4 lead.

Santana (7 IN, 4 ER, 2H, 2 BB) also helped with his glove, snagging a Shane Victorino liner in the seventh and throwing to first for the inning-ending double-play.

But he got the yank in the eighth after Chase Utley led off the inning with a homer, the night’s fourth off Johan. Santana made it clear he didn’t want to give up the mound, but Mets’ skipper Jerry Manuel forced him to turn it over to the bullpen, which did its job to earn Santana his eighth victory of the season.

The Mets got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when David Wright blasted a home run over the left-center field fence, his first dinger in about a hundred at-bats.

Santana lost his no-hitter in the third inning when Pedro Feliz hit a leadoff double to left (making it 7,528 New York Mets games without a no-no), but Johan was able to escape the inning unscathed.

The Mets rallied for two more runs in the third with a rally kicked off by Alex Cora, who drove an inside fastball into the right-field corner for a double. Beltran then blasted the next pitch (a hanging curve) over the left-field fence to make it 3-0. The Mets tried to extend the rally by loading the bases with one out, but neither Ryan Church or Omir Santos could drive runners home.

The Phillies got a couple back in the fourth on back-to-back homers by Ryan Howard and Ibanez. Howard took a hanging slider for a ride well past Citi Field’s cavernous right-center field, and Ibanez lined a homer over the MoZone in right. Then, with two outs in the top of the sixth, Santana hung a high change-up down the middle, and Jimmy Rollins shot it over the left field fence to make it 4-3 Phillies.

Fernando Tatis led off the bottom of the sixth with a double off the left-center field wall and Church was ready to bunt him over to third, but Tatis got the base for free on a failed pickoff attempt by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Tatis headed home on Church’s grounder to first and he clearly slid under Ruiz’s juggling glove, but he umpire unfortunately didn’t see it that way.

The Mets, however, still rallied to retake the lead.

Ryan Church got the Mets an important sixth run in the bottom of the seventh by hitting Citi Field’s first homer into the new apple, just past the center field fence. It didn’t do any damage, as the apple still was able to rise.

After Bobby Parnell gave up a single after Santana was pulled in the seventh after, lefty Pedro Feliciano was called upon to pitch to Howard and Ibanez. Feliciano got Howard to hit into a 4-6-3 double-play and Ibanez to ground out to second.

K-Rod let Rollins reach base on a leadoff single but got a strike out, a fielder’s choice and another strikeout for the save.

The Mets are now two games back of the Phils in the N.L. East standings.

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