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04/28/2013 6:17 PM EDT
Howard's big hit leads Hamels, Phillies over Mets
PHILADELPHIA 5, NY METS 1

By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ryan Howard took half the day off and still
ended up tormenting the Mets.



Howard snapped a seventh-inning tie with a pinch-hit double,
Cole Hamels earned his first win of the season and the
Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of a crucial error to beat
New York 5-1 on Sunday and finish a three-game sweep.



Rested by manager Charlie Manuel in the midst of a hitting tear,
Howard got his chance anyway and drove a two-run double off the
center-field fence to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead. The big
slugger has 23 RBIs in his last 13 games against the Mets,
including seven in this series.



"It's not really an off day. You just don't start," Howard said.
"Mentally you do things to keep yourself loose."



All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz went 1 for 4 with a double in his
return to the Phillies from a 25-game amphetamine suspension.
Even on the road, the popular Ruiz was greeted warmly with a
chorus of "Choooooch," and one fan held a sign welcoming him
back.



Freddy Galvis homered, Chase Utley had an RBI single and Hamels
(1-3) overcame six walks, which matched his career high. The
left-hander held the Mets to two hits and struck out eight over
six innings in his fourth consecutive solid outing.



The 2008 World Series MVP was so frustrated with his command
that he screamed into his glove in the fourth, when he walked
the bases loaded before striking out pitcher Jonathon Niese to
end the inning.



"I was able to get away with it. But it's not the best type of
game for me," Hamels said. "I would much rather have liked to go
deeper in the ballgame."



Working with his regular batterymate for the first time this
season, Hamels helped Philadelphia to its first series sweep
since last September - also at Citi Field. The Phillies have won
nine of 10 against the rival Mets since Aug. 30.



New York, which went 3-6 on a homestand against the Nationals,
Dodgers and Phillies, has lost a season-high four straight and
nine of 12 overall.



Niese (2-2) allowed one earned run in 6 2-3 innings, showing no
ill effects from the comebacker that hit him near the right
ankle and knocked him out of his previous start Tuesday.



The left-hander was lifted after 117 pitches, and once again
Philadelphia immediately jumped all over an awful Mets bullpen
that entered the day ranked next-to-last in the majors with a
5.28 ERA.



Hamels was pulled for pinch-hitter Laynce Nix with two outs in
the seventh and appeared headed for a no-decision when Nix hit a
twisting popup in foul territory. The ball came down near the
Phillies dugout, but catcher John Buck was never able to settle
under it. He tried to make a basket catch and the ball popped
out of his mitt for an error.



"I should have had it," Buck said. "Just missed it."



Nix and Jimmy Rollins followed with sharp singles, chasing
Niese. Mets manager Terry Collins called on right-hander Scott
Atchison, so Phillies counterpart Charlie Manuel brought Howard
off the bench.



He tagged a 2-0 pitch and watched it fly at first, thinking it
was gone.



"I knew they were going to put Howard in, but Scott Atchison's
breaking ball is really difficult to hit, I don't care who it
is," Collins said. "His issue is he fell behind and tried to
sneak a fastball by him. Didn't get it in, didn't make the
pitch."



Utley followed with his run-scoring single, and John Mayberry
Jr. added an RBI double in the eighth off Brandon Lyon.



"We were out of the inning. We didn't make the play," Collins
said. "At our level, you give good teams extra outs, they're
going to do some damage."



Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon finished the
three-hitter.



Ruben Tejada hit a leadoff double in the first against Hamels
and scored on David Wright's single.



Galvis reached down and golfed a low curveball over the
left-field fence in the fifth for his second home run of the
season.



"We knew we were kind of due for a series like this, and we'll
try to keep it going," Nix said.



NOTES: Major League Baseball posted on Twitter that umpire Brian
O'Nora left the series opener Friday night because of a serious
medical condition. MLB said he doesn't use tobacco products,
contrary to several reports. ... Howard, riding a 10-game
hitting streak, has 10 RBIs in his last five games after driving
in six runs over his first 19 games. Despite that, he was rested
ahead of the team's off day Monday to give him an extra
breather. Kevin Frandsen started at first base and made a nice
play to end the first inning. ... Hamels improved to 6-10 in 22
games against the Mets. ... Wright bobbled Ruiz's easy grounder
in the first, ending a 77-game errorless streak that was the
longest by a Mets third baseman. It also had been the longest
active run for any third baseman in the majors. New York
finished with a season-high three errors, one by Niese. ... To
create roster room for Ruiz, the Phillies designated backup
catcher Humberto Quintero for assignment. ... Slumping Phillies
CF Ben Revere was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game
while resting a sore quadriceps.

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