Published September 11, 2010
NEW YORK – Roy Oswalt is getting accustomed to very little run support.
The Phillies are used to winning whenever he steps on the mound.
Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer off Jon Niese (9-8), and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard also drove in runs for the Phillies, who nosed ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East by winning for the fifth time in six games. Atlanta had a chance to pull back into a tie against St. Louis later Sunday.
Three runs were plenty for Oswalt (12-13), who gets about that many each time he starts — the fourth-lowest run support average of any starter in the major leagues this season.
Much of that had to do with the Houston Astros' anemic offense earlier in the year, but this was still the third time the Phillies have supplied him with three runs or fewer. Philadelphia has won each of those starts, though, and hasn't lost with Oswalt on the mound since he dropped his debut with the defending NL champions on July 30.
The right-hander worked quickly on a steel-gray afternoon, mixing together a low-90s fastball with a hard, snapping curveball that kept the Mets off balance.
The only time he came close to coming out of the game was in the ninth inning, when Jose Reyes lined a pitch off a leg. Trainers came out to check on Oswalt and he threw a warmup pitch before staying in the game, then promptly started a 1-6-3 double play. Oswalt ended it by getting Carlos Beltran to strike out swinging.
The game wound up taking just 2 hours, 15 minutes. A light mist fell throughout.
Philadelphia added another run in the third when Polanco doubled and Howard hit a two-out single to left. Ibanez homered to straightaway center in the seventh.
Even that much offense had to make Niese a bit jealous.
The closest the Mets got to scoring was first base — Angel Pagan was cut down trying to steal second in the first inning, and Niese was erased before reaching second on fielder's choice groundouts by Jose Reyes in the third and sixth innings.
Niese wound up allowing eight hits and a pair of walks in seven innings, losing for the third time in his last four starts at Citi Field. He hasn't won a home start since beating the Cardinals on July 27.
Notes: Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins (right hamstring) missed the entire series. He showed up at the ballpark about 3 hours before first pitch and headed straight for the training room. It's unclear how long he'll be out. ... Beltran (left knee tendinitis) was back in the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday. ... The Phillies selected the contract of INF Brian Bocock from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and designated RHP Cesar Carrillo for assignment.