Pelfrey dominates again, lifts record to 7-1

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This time, Mike Pelfrey had the Phillies' number.

The Mets righthander - who took his only loss of the season at Citizens Bank Park on May 1 - improved to 7-1 last night after tossing seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over the Phillies.

Pelfrey again dominated at Citi Field, scattering three hits, striking out five and walking five to improve to 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA at home.

In his last start against the Phillies, he allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings in a 10-0 loss. Pelfrey also had given up four homers in his last two starts against his National League East rivals. But no balls left the ballpark this time. He remained in control, keeping the Phillies off-balance and off the board.

A rain delay that pushed back the start of the game nearly two hours didn't slow down Pelfrey, either. He escaped jams in the third, fourth and fifth with inning-ending double plays.

Jerry Manuel said before the game that he had no fears about Pelfrey taking the mound against the Phillies, a team he has largely struggled against.

"I think if he's on his game, I don't think it matters who he faces," Manuel said. "I think he still has the ability to get ground balls, I think he has the ability to make pitches when pitches need to be made, I think he has the ability to throw his secondary pitches for strikes also, so I think with all those things going for him, tonight, I expect him to be just like he was against the Yankees."

Pelfrey, who gave up one run in six innings in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Yankees, was even better this time. He kept the Phillies at bay until he departed after seven innings, giving way to reliever Pedro Feliciano in the eighth.

Pelfrey looked to be headed toward a rough seventh, but the Mets' defense provided a big lift. Raul Ibañez singled up the middle, just past Pelfrey's outstretched glove, but catcher Henry Blanco threw out Ibañez as he tried to steal second for the second out of the inning. Then Angel Pagan made a spectacular diving catch to rob Carlos Ruiz of a hit to end the inning.

Many wondered before the season if Pelfrey would emerge as a bona fide No. 2 starter behind Johan Santana. But the righthander has answered that question.

"I think he has a better rhythm right now while he's pitching," Manuel said of Pelfrey, who got a hit off Phillies starter Cole Hamels in the third. " . . . And the fact that he's had some success, that's bred a lot of confidence in him as well. So he feels very confident when he takes the mound and you feel very confident as a team."

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