NEW YORK - Raul Ibanez spent most of the week angry, hurt and uncharacteristically defiant.
Yesterday, he declared that he was done talking about steroids, and after a quiet 0 for 4 in the first nine innings, he won last night's Phillies game against the New York Mets, 6-3, with a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th.
It was the Phillies' second extra-inning win at Citi Field in two nights. The Phils closed their 10-game road trip with seven wins, and won the series against the Mets, who now trail them by four games in the National League East.
"For us to win like that was big," said manager Charlie Manuel. "We took the series two out of three and we end up having a good road trip."
Ibanez also ended the road trip happily, after a week in which he was angered by a blogger's suggestion that he may have used performance-enhancing drugs, and an Inquirer column that discussed it. Ibanez lashed out Tuesday, denying drug use. Yesterday, he declined comment on that issue.
Ibanez admitted that he was uncomfortable at the plate in his first four at-bats. "I chased some pitches out of the zone and wasn't feeling great today," he said. "Sometimes you end up swinging too hard."
It helped that when Ibanez came up in the 10th, Chase Utley was on first and Shane Victorino on second. Knowing that a single would give the Phillies a lead, Ibanez decided to ease his swing.
"On the first pitch, I swung too hard [and fouled it off], and I told myself, 'Easy, all you need is a single,' " he said.
Sufficiently relaxed, Ibanez drove a 1-1 pitch from Ken Takahashi over the fence in deep right-center, extending his hitting streak to 11 games and sending the Phillies home happy. A trip that began 11 days ago - and saw two blown saves by Brad Lidge and a trip to the disabled list for the closer, the Ibanez/blogger drama, and a game-winning home run by Chase Utley - ended with another emphatic win over the rival Mets.
Ibanez's homer won a game that began with an effective outing by starter Jamie Moyer. The lefthander made a recent mechanical adjustment that improved his motion from the stretch, and the change seemed to serve him last night. Moyer allowed eight hits in six innings, but he limited the damage and allowed just three runs.
The Phillies trailed by 3-2 in the seventh but embarked on another comeback. Pedro Feliz hit a one-out single, and Chris Coste moved him to third with a double. Matt Stairs, pinch-hitting for Moyer, grounded to second; the out scored Feliz and tied the score.