Then came the wildest game of all.
Chase Utley hit an RBI single off Billy Wagner in the ninth inning and Philadelphia completed a huge sweep of first-place New York by rallying for an 11-10 victory Thursday in a back-and-forth struggle that lasted 4 hours.
By winning four straight against the Mets, the Phillies moved within two games of the NL East leaders and suddenly set up an exciting September pennant race.
"We've overcome a lot of obstacles," Utley said, referring to numerous injuries that have plagued the team. "We want to win."
Mets nemesis Pat Burrell homered twice. Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand also connected for the Phillies, who wasted leads of 5-0 and 8-5 before falling behind 10-8 in the eighth. That's when the Mets called on Wagner, who hadn't pitched since last Friday after experiencing a tired arm.
Looking for his first six-out save in eight years, Wagner (2-2) gave up Burrell's solo shot in the eighth and immediately ran into trouble in the ninth.
Jimmy Rollins was intentionally walked after Iguchi stole second, bringing up Utley, who entered the game leading the NL in batting average. The All-Star second baseman, playing his third game after missing a month with a broken hand, worked a full count before lining a single to right field to score Iguchi and send the crowd into a frenzy.
Fans chanted "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!" as they left the ballpark. One man held a broom he sneaked in.
"When Utley was batting, that's the loudest I ever heard it," Burrell said.
It was Philadelphia's first four-game sweep over any team since doing it against the Mets in September 2003 at old Veterans Stadium.
The Phillies have sliced five games off New York's lead with five straight wins while the Mets have lost five in a row. Philadelphia will be two games behind the loser of the Arizona-San Diego game in the wild-card standings.
"We'll bounce back," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "We're not going to fold any tents."
Wagner has blown his last two save opportunities and is 29-of-33 this year with two blown saves against Philadelphia. The All-Star closer left the Phillies to sign with New York before last season.
"I felt fresh. I was fine," Wagner said. "I was trying to make pitches and I was unable to make them."
The Phillies beat the Mets 9-2 on Monday night. Howard hit a two-run homer in the 10th for a 4-2 victory the next game.
On Wednesday, Philadelphia escaped with a 3-2 win when Anderson was ruled out on a game-ending interference call following a hard takeout slide into second base.
"It's a testament to all the guys that we never quit," Rowand said.
After New York tied it at 5 in the fifth, the Phillies scored three off Aaron Sele with two outs in the bottom half.
Ruiz and pinch-hitter Shane Victorino drove in consecutive runs with bloop singles. Rollins' RBI single made it 8-5.
Mets starter Orlando Hernandez gave up five runs and six hits in three innings, his shortest outing this season. Hernandez has won five straight decisions and the Mets were 9-0 in his previous nine starts.
Beltran's RBI infield single and Green's sacrifice fly tied it at 5 in the fifth off Geoff Geary.
Lohse allowed three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Howard launched his 36th homer into the stands just left of the brick batter's eye in center for a 2-0 lead in the first.
Burrell lined a two-run shot into the left-field seats in the third. A fan outleaped the Phillie Phanatic, who was mingling in that section, to catch the ball.
Burrell has 41 career homers against the Mets, fifth-most by an opposing player.
- Wright got his 30th stolen base. He needs six homers to have his first 30-30 season. Only Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry have done it for the Mets.