It was shaping up as a fine July 4 for Chris Young and the Mets until the Phillies struck with a pair of home runs in the seventh inning. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz went deep back-to-back and the Phillies went on to a 9-2 win Wednesday at Citi Field.
It wasn't just the lead-erasing homers or their ineffective bullpen that frustrated the Mets.
Their batters spent much of the afternoon looking back at Tim Timmons, who called seven Mets out on strikes as Cliff Lee fanned nine overall. Lee (1-5) earned his first win in his 14th start as the Phillies snapped a six-game losing streak.
David Wright made the most pointed remarks to Timmons in the eighth inning after being called out for the second time. One out later, Lucas Duda was caught looking on Lee's 116th and final pitch.
"It's baseball," Wright said. "You have disagreements quite frequently. You have differences of opinion here and there, especially when it's kind of a frustrating game.
"Just losing the lead and knowing pretty much when Cliff Lee's on the mound you've got to be pretty close to perfect offensively and defensively. Let it slip away a little bit, so I guess just some overall frustration."
Just an inning and a half earlier, Young led 2-0 thanks to a fourth-inning home run by Scott Hairston and a fifth-inning RBI single by Wright.
"Seven pitches later, we're behind 3-2," Terry Collins said.
It actually took only six. Juan Pierre led off the seventh with the Phillies' third hit, a single to center, and Utley followed with a laser two-run home run down the rightfield line. It was the second homer of the season for Utley, who returned June 27 from a season-long bout with knee problems.
Ruiz, the All-Star catcher, followed with his 13th homer to left to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.
"Chris was in complete control," Collins said. "There was nothing that dictated that they were getting good swings at him. He was cruising pretty good."
Young (2-2) didn't allow a baserunner until Pierre's one-out single in the fourth. He went seven innings and allowed three runs, five hits and no walks.
"They're good hitters," Young said. "Ruiz is one of the league leaders in average [.357] and Utley, he's Utley, a perennial All-Star. You don't execute to those guys and they can punish you. It turned around quickly."
In the eighth, Batista threw one pitch, and it was hit for a single by John Mayberry Jr. Lee followed with a sacrifice bunt against Byrdak. Jimmy Rollins hit a ground-rule double to center to make it 4-2. After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Ty Wigginton, Byrdak got Utley to line to center for the second out.
Either way, it was 6-2, and Lee was locked in. He pitched eight innings and allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk.
Hefner allowed three more runs in the ninth, two on Wigginton's ninth homer, his third against the Mets this year.
The holiday crowd of 28,687 -- at least the Mets fans among them, as many Philadelphians spent Independence Day at Citi Field -- went home hot and bothered. As for Hefner, he went to Triple-A Buffalo.