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Clutch hitting dooms Phillies in loss to Mets

Jonathan Papelbon took the loss in a mistake-filled night for the last-place Phillies.

When Roy Halladay starts for the Phillies it’s like money in The Bank — or it used to be. That’s not so anymore as Doc is winless in his last four starts, the longest such stretch of his Phillies career.

It wasn’t Halladay’s fault Monday night, as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-2. The stoic ace, who rebounded from his worst start in red pinstripes last week against the Atlanta Braves, gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. He was dominant for six frames.

“I felt good out there,” Halladay said. “I thought we made good pitches.”

Clutch hitting was the difference. With the game tied, the Phillies had a man on third with one out in the seventh and eighth innings, but failed to score. Hunter Pence appeared to drive in a go-ahead run in the seventh, but Shane Victorino was called for interference at second base.

“I was just trying to break up the double play,” Victorino said. “That’s what I had to do when the ball was hit to the second baseman.”

The bottom line is that Phillies didn’t score when there were opportunities.

“When you don’t take advantage [of those situations], good things don’t happen for you,” skipper Charlie Manuel said.

The Mets delivered with a man on second and third in the ninth when Jordany Valdespin hit a three-run homer off closer Jonathan Papelbon for his first career hit.

“I threw him a sinker and it wasn’t really as executed as I would have liked,” Papelbon said. “I could have thrown him a better pitch. It kind of hung a little bit.”

Papelbon didn’t make the best choice and perhaps the same can be said for Manuel. The manager made some curious moves when the Phillies were threatening to take the lead in eighth. With a runner on third and one out, Manuel let light-hitting Freddy Galvis bat and he grounded out. Manuel followed that up by calling back announced pinch-hitter Laynce Nix for recent call-up Erik Kratz, who struck out to end the inning.

The last-place Phillies blew a pair of golden opportunities and the game. But there is still plenty of season left.

“Some times things don’t go your way and it’s just a matter of overcoming it,” Halladay said. “You make adjustments.”

The silver lining for the Phillies is that Halladay had good stuff. His velocity was his best of the season.

“We made a few mechanical changes,” Halladay said. “I felt like the movement was better. I just got to go out there and try to do better each time and give the team a chance to win.”

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