Mets zero in, shut out Phils for 3rd straight day

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Pelfrey and the New York Mets pulled off a most extraordinary pitching feat, shutting out hard-hitting Philadelphia for the third straight game and handing the flailing Phillies a 3-0 loss Thursday night.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the NL champions got swept in the series without scoring a single run — it marked the first time since 1983 that Philadelphia was blanked three days in a row.

Pelfrey (7-1) and a pair of relievers held the Phillies to four singles while winning their fifth consecutive game. The big right-hander followed top efforts by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Japanese newcomer Hisanori Takahashi as the Mets threw back-to-back-to-back blankings for the first time since 1988.

In today's era when sluggers rule, it seemed nearly impossible. Not since 2004 had any team shut out another club in a three-game series — then, it was Minnesota pitching three in a row against Kansas City, STATS LLC said.

Jose Reyes, fresh from giving batting tips to the newly crowned Miss USA, was pretty at the plate. He singled and scored in the first, singled the next time up and delivered a two-run double in the seventh that finished Cole Hamels (5-3).

After a rain delay of nearly two hours at the start, Pelfrey quickly found his rhythm. He allowed three hits in seven innings, working around five walks while striking out five.

Pedro Feliciano worked the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 11 tries.

Pelfrey relied on his sinker all evening, with great success. The Phillies either swung over the pitch or worse for them, beat the ball into the dirt to wreck any chances to rally.

Placido Polanco, Jayson Werth and Wilson Valdez grounded into double plays to end the third, fourth and fifth innings. The Phils put runners at the corners with two outs in the sixth and, with the Mets bullpen heating up, Howard bounced right into New York's overshifted infield.

Pelfrey made up for his only loss this year, a 10-0 defeat in Philly earlier this month.

Most everyone on the Mets made a nice play in the field. Immediately after backup catcher Henry Blanco threw out Raul Ibanez trying to steal, center fielder Angel Pagan made a diving catch on Carlo Ruiz's liner to finish the seventh.

Reyes posed with the beauty queen during batting practice, then the leadoff man opened with an infield hit and came home on Jason Bay's double. An error by Polanco at third base set up Reyes' double into the left-field corner in the seventh.

The Mets posted their first three-game sweep over the Phillies since 2006, and their first at home against the Phils since 1997.

NOTES: Mets CF Carlos Beltran (knee) probably won't rejoin the Mets until at least the All-Star break, general manager Omar Minaya indicated. ... Blanco started in place of Rod Barajas, who had a sore right wrist. ... A fan concourse in the upper deck was blocked off for a short time during the rain delay after an unattended bag was found. Police investigated and determined someone had accidentally left behind a camera bag. ... Rima Fakih won the Miss USA pageant earlier this month. She came to the game wearing her sash and a Mets jersey and compared right-handed swings with Reyes. She was born in Lebanon and represented Michigan, but went to high school near Citi Field. She saw her first game at Shea Stadium in 1994. "I'm a big NFL fan," she said, "but I've always been a Mets fan."