NEW YORK - Is it possible that the Phillies have crawled into the heads of the New York Mets?
Maybe. But they would prefer to test that theory come October.
"I think it's a testament to us," Greg Dobbs said yesterday after he hit a pinch-hit grand slam to spark a 10-6 victory over the Mets at Shea Stadium. "We put the pressure on them. We were able to . . . play our game and stay focused and come in with some intensity. I don't know if they could feel that or not, but in our dugout, it was a lot of fun. . . . I don't know if we're in their heads, but I think we've proven to them that we can play them tough."
The Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Mets, the second time they have swept them in as many series. But the Mets still hold a 31/2-game lead over the Phils in the National League East, and the San Diego Padres still hold a 11/2-game lead in the wild-card race.
The Phils have 13 games to make up the difference.
Of course, everyone remembers what happened after the Phillies swept four games from the Mets last month at Citizens Bank Park. They lost five of their next seven games.
"I don't think there's going to be a lapse this time," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "Everything is coming down to an end, and we don't have time to take a break."
"That was a different situation," centerfielder Aaron Rowand said. "We were trying to get back in it. There were a lot of games left. We're getting down to the wire now. I don't think it's an issue right now because of the importance of every game."
The Mets played yesterday as if they wanted to help the Phillies into the postseason. They committed six errors, the most since they committed six on Sept. 13, 2002, in Montreal. They walked a season-high 11 batters. They hit one batter.
They looked terrible.
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Rollins hit a ball to shortstop Jose Reyes with the bases loaded and two outs. Reyes fumbled the ball, then made a bad throw to Luis Castillo at second, allowing Rowand and Carlos Ruiz to score.
In the fourth, Rollins hit a fly to Moises Alou in left field that Alou dropped. Chase Utley followed with a double to score Rollins and make it 4-1.
But the major damage came after Phillies righthander Adam Eaton allowed a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran in the fifth to tie the game at 5.
Guillermo Mota walked Pat Burrell to lead off the sixth inning. Ryan Howard reached on an error by Castillo, and Rowand walked to load the bases with no outs. Jorge Sosa entered and walked Jayson Werth to force in a run.
Four pitches later, Dobbs hit a 1-2 cutter down the right-field line for a grand slam, the first of his career.
"I hit it well," said Dobbs, who pinch-hit for third baseman Wes Helms. "It was just a matter of it staying fair. It just sneaked by the foul pole."
"I'm definitely upset," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "I'm disappointed. They talked it before the season, and they've definitely backed it up the last two series. . . . They've embarrassed us."
But the Phillies weren't jumping all over one another in the visitors' clubhouse afterward. They know they have not won anything yet.
The Mets will play 13 of their remaining 14 games against the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals, two of the NL's worst teams. Even if the Mets stumble and finish 6-8, the Phillies would need to play 9-4 the rest of the way to tie them. And the Padres will play seven of their remaining 14 games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, both of whom are 66-83.
The Phillies simply need to keep going. Rollins and Rowand said they would.