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STRATEGY PAYS OFF AS PHILS BEAT METS

Larry Bowa knew he'd be criticized if his strategy didn't work. With one double-play grounder, Rheal Cormier made sure the Philadelphia Phillies manager was praised.

With the Phillies leading the New York Mets by three runs in the sixth inning Saturday, Cormier came in to face Jason Phillips, who had a 2-0 count on him with the bases loaded and one out. The left-handed groundball specialist got Phillips to hit into an inning-ending double play, and Philadelphia went on to beat New York, 8-2.

"Players make you look good or they make you look bad," Bowa said. "Today, Cormier made me look good. You roll the dice. If Phillips hits a double, it's a bad move."

Jim Thome hit his major league-leading 30th homer and fell a triple short of the cycle, and Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs with a double in a three-run third inning for the Phillies.

"It's about picking each other up," Thome said. "Any time a pitcher can come out of the bullpen and get a double-play ball like that is a big boost."

Randy Wolf (4-5) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings to win for just the second time in 10 starts. But he got into a big jam in the sixth.

With the Mets trailing, 4-1, Cliff Floyd hit a one-out double and moved to third on Ty Wigginton's single. Mike Cameron walked to load the bases, and Wolf went to 2-0 on Phillips. That's when Cormier entered.

"I thought I was going to come in before it was a 2-0 count because I was ready," said Cormier, who pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings.

"There's not a lot of room for error. You just try to limit the damage."

Phillips hit a grounder to third baseman Tomas Perez, who stepped on third for one out and threw to first to end the inning.

"I didn't get the job done today," Phillips said.

Wolf, a flyball pitcher, said he would've liked to have finished pitching to Phillips, but understood Bowa's move.

"It's always tough to come out, but I realized the situation," he said. "I wasn't throwing strikes, and we brought in our best groundball guy, and the move worked out for us."

The first-place Phillies have won two in a row after losing the series opener, while the Mets dropped back to .500 at 45-45, three games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

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