Pedro isn't feeling Wild

NEW YORK – If you were going to script a way the Mets could take control of the postseason race, it'd have to be with Pedro Martinez on the hill in front of a roaring crowd at Shea Stadium.

Unusual, then, that with Martinez on center stage and the Mets poised to move into the No. 1 spot in the contest between second-place finishers, the ace was a flop.

Martinez tied a career-high by allowing four home runs to the Philadelphia Phillies, who kept their hold atop the Wild Card running with an 8-2 win Wednesday.

Chase Utley was the Pedro-killer on this humid, sometimes-rainy evening at Shea, with a pair of home runs off Martinez (13-6) in the sixth and seventh innings. With Ryan Howard (fourth inning) and Mike Lieberthal (seventh) also jumping into the mix, any benefit of the Marlins' ongoing loss to St. Louis was nullified.

"Believe me, I was fully aware," Martinez said. "I tried as hard as I could. No excuses. They got to me."

"You don't see that too often, that's for sure," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

The Mets have won just two of the last seven starts by Martinez, who was charged with five runs and eight hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking three.

Recently, Martinez has noted an ailing back as one reason for possible struggles, although he said it bothered him less on Wednesday than in previous starts. He also continues to brush off any doubts about his velocity, saying that his fastball moved quicker in the sixth and seventh innings against Philadelphia than any other frame.

"I was pleased with my velocity," Martinez said. "It's a nonsense issue."

In any event, the Mets got very little going against Phillies starter Brett Myers (12-6). Cliff Floyd singled in a run in the first inning and Ramon Castro earned a curtain call – his second in as many nights – with a solo home run in the second.

But after that, Myers used an impressive curveball to ice the Mets to the tune of six hits over seven innings, striking out seven.

"We can't always go out there and expect [Martinez] to pitch a one-hitter," Floyd said. "We've got to get him some runs."

The Mets have a quick turnaround finish up their abbreviated homestand Thursday behind Tom Glavine, looking to draw within a half game of the top spot in the Wild Card chase.

"We've got Glavine going," Martinez said. "That's as good as Pedro."

NOTES: The Mets announced three Sept. 1 callups, adding LHP Kazuhisa Ishii, LHP Tim Hamulack and RHP Shingo Takatsu to the major league roster. All three will be available for Thursday's finale against Philadelphia.


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