Vance Worley was effective, the offense took care of business, and the Phillies started off the second half of the 2011 season in good form, as they downed the New York Mets, 7-2, on Friday night.
The Phils, owners of Major League's best record (57-34) entering play on Friday night, handled the Mets rather easily, despite being down their starting third baseman Placido Polanco and centerfielder Shane Victorino, who are both holed up on the disabled list.
The offense went to work on Mets' knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey in the second inning of the contest, when they loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk for John Mayberry, who got the Phillies on the board with a two run single. Vance Worley followed up with an RBI of his own, the first of his career, when Domonic Brown scored from third base on his groundout to third. They added another run in the top of the sixth, when Raul Ibanez belted his 13th homer of the year, a solo shot, to extend their lead to four runs.
Meanwhile, Worley was holding up his end of the bargain by keeping the Mets off the board for the first five frames, and it wasn't until the bottom of the sixth that he got himself into a spot of trouble.
With one away, he walked Carlos Beltran, gave up a single to Daniel Murphy, and followed with a walk to Jason Bay, which would spell the end of his evening. He was followed by lefty Juan Perez, who struck out pinch hitter Scott Hairston for the second out, only to allow Beltran to score from third after the pitched bounced away from Carlos Ruiz. It was all the Mets would get, as Ronny Paulino grounded out to end the threat.
It is as close as the Mets would get, because the Phillies tacked on three more runs in the top of the eighth inning, thanks to a pair of defensive miscues that extended the inning and loaded the bases for Mayberry, who cleared the bases with a double to bring his RBI total to five.
The Mets would add a run in the bottom half of the frame, thanks to a solo home run from Carlos Beltran, but it was all the offense they would muster on the evening, as Antonio Bastado pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the win.
One of the more encouraging moments of the night came in the bottom of the seventh, when the Phillies turned to newly activated Ryan Madson to pitch in what was, at the time, a three run game. He responded to his first action in over three weeks with a perfect frame and a pair of strikeouts. Health has been a bit of an issue all season for the 'pen, and if Madson's performance was any indication, it's one less thing that they need to worry about.
Worley (5-1) gets the win, Dickey (4-8) takes the loss, and the Phils return to action for the middle game of the series on Saturday afternoon. They'll send Cole Hamels (11-4, 2.32) to the hill, where he will take on Jonathon Niese (8-7, 3.88).