"I was praying nobody hit one like that at me out there," Rowand said of Rollins' drive in the heart of the afternoon sun at a windy Shea Stadium. "We just ended up on the right end."
Rowand hit a tying homer and went 3-for-5 for Philadelphia, which pulled within 4½ games of the NL East-leading Mets. The Phillies were 1½ back of wild card-leading San Diego entering play.
"As long as you're breathing, you're living," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I mean you've got a chance."
New York wasted another terrific start by Pedro Martinez, who struck out nine and held the Phillies to one run in six innings. Martinez was sidelined for most of the season after having major shoulder surgery last October, but is 2-0 in three starts since he came off the disabled list Sept. 3.
"Today was the first time I felt that I could use my changeup in any count against any hitter," Martinez said.
The Mets led 3-1 after six innings but couldn't hold on for the second straight game. Chase Utley's two-run homer erased the Mets' 2-0 lead Friday night and Philadelphia went on to win 3-2 on pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs' sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.
The Phillies lead the majors with 45 come-from-behind wins.
"We've done it all year long, fortunately, and hopefully we can continue to do it in big situations," Rollins said.
Rowand led off the eighth with a drive to left off Pedro Feliciano for his 24th homer, tying it at 3. Jorge Sosa (9-7) came in and walked pinch-hitter Wes Helms, who was replaced at first by Chris Roberson.
Roberson advanced to second on a sacrifice and Sosa walked pinch-hitter Pete Laforest with two outs. That set the stage for Rollins, who lined an 0-1 pitch to center.
Beltran charged in before quickly realizing it was over his head. He retreated but it was too late. Both runners scored and Rollins held his arms out and yelled toward the Philadelphia dugout after he reached third.
"I took one step forward and that was it," said Beltran, who refused to blame the conditions. "It's a bad read and after I took that one step forward the ball went over my head."
Rollins, who boldly proclaimed in the offseason that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East, went 2-for-5 with two stolen bases and two RBI.
Antonio Alfonseca (5-1) worked a perfect seventh to get the win. J.C. Romero and Tom Gordon combined to record three outs and get it to Brett Myers, who pitched the ninth for his 17th save and second in as many days.
Alfonseca is allowed to pitch while he appeals his four-game suspension for hitting Colorado's Todd Helton with a pitch Thursday.
Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson was ejected in the bottom of the ninth for arguing a called third strike by plate umpire Dan Iassogna. An incensed Anderson threw his batting helmet toward home after he reached the dugout.
With runners on first and second, Myers struck out David Wright and got Beltran to fly out to end the game.
"We're not putting them away when we have the opportunity and we're slowly letting them back in the game," Wright said. "These guys are too good to let them hang around until the seventh, eighth or ninth innings."
Beltran and Paul Lo Duca had RBI singles for the Mets, who tied franchise records for stolen bases in an inning with four in the third, and for the game with six total. But they also were caught three times, including Jose Reyes trying to take third with two outs in the sixth.
"We made too many mistakes on the basepaths," manager Willie Randolph said. "Our game is being aggressive. Still, we can't make mistakes and give them outs."
The Mets have 38 stolen bases in their last 23 games and lead the majors with 193 this year.
Martinez kept New York in front while he was in, throwing 68 of his season-high 98 pitches for strikes. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has allowed three earned runs over 16 innings in his comeback.
Kyle Lohse allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings for the Phillies.
- The Mets activated backup C Ramon Castro (lower back arthritis) from the disabled list. They also recalled RHPs Joe Smith and Brian Lawrence, INF Anderson Hernandez and OF David Newhan from Triple-A New Orleans.
- Rollins has a career-high 84 RBI this season. His previous best was 83 last year.
- Rowand equaled his career high for homers. He also hit 24 for the Chicago White Sox in 2004.
- Mets LF Moises Alou reached on an infield single in the second to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
- Mets closer Billy Wagner was unavailable. "He said he needed a day," Randolph said.