NEW YORK -- Sweat dripping from his brow at steamy Shea Stadium, Pedro Martinez had a two-run lead and a terrific chance to put the Mets ahead in the NL wild-card chase.
He just couldn't keep the Phillies in the ballpark.
Chase Utley hit two of Philadelphia's four homers off the New York ace, Brett Myers pitched seven strong innings and the Phillies bounced back from an early deficit for an 8-2 victory Wednesday night.
"I could sense I didn't have my best stuff," Martinez said. "I tried to hold them as long as I could."
Ryan Howard and Mike Lieberthal also connected for Philadelphia, which stopped a three-game skid and sent New York to its fourth loss in 12 games. The Phillies (71-62) regained sole possession of the wild-card lead, a half-game ahead of Houston.
Martinez (13-6) had a 2-0 cushion and an opportunity to push the Mets in front of their NL East rivals, but failed to do it. The four home runs he gave up matched a career high, set twice in consecutive starts for Boston in June 1998.
"I didn't feel as good as I would like to, but I feel pretty good," Martinez said. "Their concentration level was so high that every time I made a mistake, they hit them out."
The right-hander gave up five runs and eight hits in seven innings, dropping to 1-3 in his past seven starts.
"I think his velocity was down tonight," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we kind of figured him out."
Myers (12-6) allowed six hits and struck out seven, improving to 6-1 in his last 10 starts. He has yielded only three runs in 14 innings at Shea this season, going 2-0 in two starts.
"In order for you to be an ace or considered an ace, you've got to step up and match the other teams' aces," Myers said. "This was a big game for us."
One night after blowing a lead, Ugueth Urbina struck out two in a perfect eighth to preserve a 5-2 advantage.
Bobby Abreu added a two-out, two-run double off Heath Bell in the ninth, and Pat Burrell had an RBI single.
Philadelphia's Kenny Lofton made two over-the-shoulder catches in deep center in the sixth, saving at least one run.
"He reminded me of Kenny Lofton of yesteryear," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "Those were big plays. They could have gotten us back in the game."
With the score tied at 2, Lieberthal led off the seventh with his 11th home run. Utley added a two-run shot to center for No. 21 on the year and his third career multihomer game -- his second in five days.
"You're not trying to hit home runs off that kind of guy, you're just trying to put the ball in play and make things happen, and I think we did a good job of that," Utley said.
Utley became the fourth player with a multihomer game against Martinez and the first since Andres Galarraga on June 10, 1998, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other players were Ellis Burks in 1996 and Bobby Estalella in 1997.
Carlos Beltran singled with two outs in the first, stole second and scored on Cliff Floyd's single up the middle.
Ramon Castro connected in the second for a 2-0 Mets lead, giving him home runs in consecutive at-bats after his go-ahead, three-run drive in the eighth inning Tuesday night.
Subbing nicely for injured catcher Mike Piazza, Castro has made the most of his 40 hits this season. He has 37 RBI and a career-best seven homers, and his latest long ball drew another quick curtain call from the crowd of 43,780.
"They were really loud," Myers said. "It felt like 100,000, so it was fun to pitch."
Howard hit his 11th homer in the fourth, an opposite-field shot to left that ended Martinez's 15-inning scoreless streak. Utley's homer leading off the sixth tied it at 2.
- The Phillies are 9-1 in Myers' last 10 starts.
- Martinez needed only eight pitches to get through the third inning.
- The Mets fell to 15-6 in their last 21 home games. The Phillies are 12-6 in their past 18 on the road.
- Martinez dropped to 7-4 in 19 outings against Philadelphia.
- New York 3B David Wright went 0-for-2, ending his 11-game hitting streak.
- The Mets will call up LHP Kazuhisa Ishii, RHP Shingo Takatsu and LHP Tim Hamulack from Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday when active rosters expand to 40. All three should be available for the series finale.
- The Phillies will call up RHP Geoff Geary, INF Matt Kata, RHP Pedro Liriano, C A.J. Hinch and OF Shane Victorino from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. Victorino was the International League MVP.