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PHI@NYM: Mets score five runs in the third

NEW YORK -- The Mets went into the second leg of Saturday's doubleheader against the Phillies at Citi Field without their entire starting outfield due to injury, as well as All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, who was given the evening off. They came out with a 6-3 win and a sweep of the doubleheader.

Despite a bumpy beginning and an early three-run deficit, Dillon Gee settled down to make it through six innings with a quality start intact while the Mets capitalized on a fielding error to pump out five runs in the third. It was Gee's final start of his first full Major League season, with the win pushing him to 13-6 with an ERA of 4.23. Gee's 13 wins are the most among Mets pitchers this year.

"He's pitched very, very well all year long," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's had some ups and downs, but the one thing he does is he throws the ball over the plate.

"Today he had to reach back for something, and I think he did a good job. He's going to be a very good pitcher."

Though not as bare as the Mets' lineup, the Phillies' starting nine was without first baseman Ryan Howard, catcher Carlos Ruiz and third baseman Placido Polanco. Joe Blanton, who started the game on the mound for Philadelphia, was removed after ringing up three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. It was Blanton's first start since May 14, and his three prior appearances in September -- after spending a large stretch of the season on the disabled list -- were in relief.

Still, the performance for the Mets in both halves of the doubleheader was a sharp improvement over their most recent homestand, at the end of which Collins said his team appeared as if it had "folded it up." Even with the Phillies mired in an eight-game losing streak after clinching the National League East championship, Collins is happy that his team was able to play with energy and take advantage of Philadelphia's mistakes. The Mets' two wins Saturday, the first coming behind an outstanding pitching performance by R.A. Dickey in the matinee, are already more than the one game they won during their nine-game homestand earlier in the month.

"I'm very pleased," Collins said. "I just said, 'Look, we owe the people that come to this ballpark energy. So somehow, some way you've got to reach down inside and play with some energy.' And they've done that ever since."

The Mets' third inning was aided by an error by Phillies right fielder Hunter Pence, who dropped a two-out fly ball by Willie Harris that brought in two runs and allowed Harris to reach third. The Mets added three more runs on a double by Nick Evans and a single by catcher Josh Thole. All five of the runs were unearned, with four coming off reliever David Herndon and one coming at the expense of Kyle Kendrick. The run off Kendrick was unearned by the team, but charged as an earned run to Kendrick.

"I don't know why I missed it, but I did," Pence said. "The play has to be made and it cost us big time."

"I'm sitting there watching it, but I don't know what I can do about," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "If you want to know the truth, we're out of sync. We're definitely out of focus."

Gee fell behind in the second inning, when former Met Brian Schneider singled to bring home Ross Gload and scored later on a line-drive single by Jimmy Rollins. Gee's defense betrayed him in the third, when Justin Turner made a fielding error that allowed leadoff man Chase Utley to reach base. The Phillies would score an unearned run on a double into the gap in right-center by Gload, his second double of the game.

Gee settled down after the third, retiring eight of the final 11 batters he faced in three scoreless innings. He gave way to Bobby Parnell after striking out two in six innings, having allowed nine hits and two walks.

Parnell threw a perfect 1 2/3 innings before Daniel Herrera closed out the eighth and Manny Acosta picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Though Gee said after the game he was happy to lead the team in wins, he knows that statistic is not always indicative of how well a pitcher has done. After a strong first half of the season, Gee posted a 5.25 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break. In the offseason, he plans to work on finding his early-season form in order to get more movement on his pitches.

"I'm not satisfied with the way I pitched," Gee said of his Saturday evening performance. "I am satisfied with the way I at least kind of buckled down and bore down and was able to battle through a pretty tough night. Me and Thole just really buckled down and just somehow got it done tonight."

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