PHILADELPHIA - With one sudden swing against an old college teammate, Phillies pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen ended a wild comeback bid by the Mets.
Frandsen's walk-off homer off Mets reliever Carlos Torres in the bottom of the ninth inning handed the Mets an 8-7 loss Saturday -- their payoff after rallying from a six-run deficit.
After falling behind 7-1, the Mets rallied for four runs in the seventh before tying it in the ninth against Phillies closer Jonathon Papelbon.
Jordany Valdespin cut the deficit to one with a solo shot in the ninth. Later, Daniel Murphy lined an 0-and-2 pitch through the hole vacated by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who was covering second when David Wright broke from first base.
As Murphy's ball deadened in the outfield, and as centerfielder Ben Revere struggled to pick it up cleanly, Wright kept running until he scored the tying run.
"It worked out pretty good for about five minutes," said Wright, who reached on Michael Young's second error of the game.
But pitching in only his second high-pressure spot for the Mets, Torres (0-1) served up a mistake pitch to Frandsen, who sent the Mets home with nothing to show from a furious rally.
Frandsen said Torres often won their battles when they faced off as high school players in Northern California, even before their season together at San Jose State.
The Mets fell behind mostly because of the efforts of a longtime bully. Phillies slugger Ryan Howard went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including two solo homers off Dillon Gee.
Howard improved to 7-for-15 (.467) lifetime against Gee. His six homers against Gee are his third most against any pitcher -- even though he has had only 15 plate appearances against Gee, who hasn't surrendered more than two to any other hitter.
"He knows Ryan Howard kills him," manager Terry Collins said. "He just can't give him balls to hit. You've really got to almost pitch around him and let somebody else beat you."
Among those with at least 15 career plate appearances against Gee, only Rollins' .500 average is better than Howard's .467.
"That guy definitely has me," said Gee, who had a 1.53 ERA in his previous four starts. "It seems like no matter where I throw it, he hits it out of the ballpark."
Gee allowed six runs (five earned) and eight hits in five innings. He also allowed a solo shot to Young in the fifth, immediately after Howard sent his second homer into the rightfield stands.
Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone held the Mets to one run before he departed with a lower-back injury after the sixth.
Young's first error kicked off the Mets' four-run rally in the seventh.
"Being down that far, that early, I wouldn't have thought," Collins said.
Indeed, the Mets had their chances but seemed destined to fall short. In the seventh, Murphy had an opportunity to extend the Mets' rally but took a called third strike to end the inning. He barked at umpire Bill Welke, upset at another close called strike earlier in the at-bat.
In the ninth, Eric Young Jr. was called out by first-base umpire Adrian Johnson in a close play. Valdespin, the next batter, hit a homer off Papelbon (2-0).
"There's no moral victories in the big leagues," Wright said. "Wins and losses. It's cut and dried. Today [stunk] but hopefully we play better tomorrow."