PHILADELPHIA -- On a historic night when the loudest chants at Citizens Bank Park were "U-S-A! U-S-A!" by the only people on the planet not watching President Obama, the Mets and Phillies needed extra innings and pushed into the morning hours to wrap up their weekend series.
The Mets were exhausted after beating the Phillies, 2-1, on Ronny Paulino's fifth hit, an RBI double off Kyle Kendrick with two outs in the 14th inning -- at 12:44 a.m. But the clubhouse was energized, as was the country, by the news that Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, had been killed.
David Wright, who scored from third on Paulino's winning hit, recalled standing on second base during the ninth inning, when the "U-S-A" chants began among the crowd of 45,713 at Citizens Bank Park.
"One of the first things I thought about was coming from Walter Reed [hospital], the emotions that those guys must be going through, hearing that same news," Wright said. "As proud and as great as the moment was for me being on a baseball field, you multiply that by a million, that's probably what they're feeling at the firehouses, at the police stations, at the places like Walter Reed.
"It's just an incredible moment. New Yorkers, Philadelphia, coming together for a common cause . . . I don't like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit, but they got this one right. It's a proud moment."
Mets manager Terry Collins, who used every position player and six pitchers, said bench coach Ken Oberkfell told him what had happened as they stood in the dugout. No one appreciates a victory as much as Collins, who has plenty to prove in his first season, but he had no trouble putting this 14-inning win over the Mets' bitter division rival in perspective.
"This is a good win for us and obviously a huge win for America," Collins said. "I just think it's a huge relief for everybody. I know the war's not over. I'm well aware of that. They're going to continue. But I'm real proud of our troops, and especially after this trip, where we went to Walter Reed, I know those guys are cheering tonight. They certainly deserve to."
It was the first start for Paulino, who was activated Friday from the disabled list, and it was the Mets' first hit with runners in scoring position all night. They had been 0-for-14 before Paulino stepped to the plate.
Taylor Buchholz, the Mets' sixth pitcher, threw two scoreless innings for his first victory of the season. Collins used his last position player when he sent up Josh Thole to pinch hit in the 13th. Overall, the Mets were 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 19 in the 4-hour, 44-minute game. They had 14 hits and seven walks to the Phillies' seven hits and six walks.
For the second time in four starts, Chris Young had a great effort spoiled by the bullpen. On April 10, he allowed only one hit and one run through seven innings against the Nationals and came away empty. Sunday night, after protecting a 1-0 lead through seven innings, he watched from the clubhouse as the Phillies tied it in the eighth on Ryan Howard's two-out RBI single off lefthander Tim Byrdak.
Jason Isringhausen walked pinch hitter John Mayberry Jr. to lead off the eighth, and after Shane Victorino's sacrifice, Jose Reyes made a running catch in shallow center of Placido Polanco's pop-up. The ball squirted out of his glove for a moment, forcing Reyes to catch it twice.
After Jimmy Rollins walked, in came Byrdak to face Howard, who took a slider for a strike before slapping a slider into leftfield for the tying single. Previously, Byrdak had stranded all eight of his inherited runners, and lefthanded hitters were batting .190 (4-for-21) with nine strikeouts against him.
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have a combined three Cy Young Awards, but Jonathon Niese and Young matched them virtually pitch-for-pitch on consecutive days. Niese got tripped up Saturday when he lost a 1-0 lead in the seventh. Young, however, protected his 1-0 edge before leaving after seven.
It wasn't easy. With one out in the seventh, Young walked Howard and drilled Ben Francisco in the shoulder. But after striking out the ice-cold Raul Ibañez (0-for-33), he walked Pete Orr to load the bases for former Met Brian Schneider.
Young fell behind Schneider 2-and-0, then evened the count at 2-and-2 before throwing a 75-mph slider. He attempted to check his swing, and after no signal from plate umpire Jim Wolf, the Mets along the dugout rail yelled and pointed frantically to check with third-base umpire Lance Barksdale. As soon as Wolf asked for help, Barksdale pumped his fist for the out call.
It took four innings for the Mets to scratch out a run off Halladay in Saturday's 2-1 loss. Sunday night, they got on the scoreboard against Lee in the fifth. Again, the damage was minimal.
Wright started the two-out rally with his second single of the game and Carlos Beltran lined a drive that bounced to the base of the wall in right-centerfield. Wright seemed like a safe bet to score from first, but Orr guaranteed it by dropping Victorino's relay throw.
The error by Orr allowed Beltran to make it to third, teeing up an RBI opportunity for Jason Bay. But the leftfielder, in an 0-for-12 skid to that point, flied out to end the inning. That dropped him to 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position since his April 21 return from the DL.
The Mets knew they would have precious few chances against Lee, just as they did with Halladay the previous afternoon. So when they failed to score in the first inning despite some uncharacteristic wildness and 34 pitches from Lee, it set an ominous tone for the evening.