NEW YORK - In the landscape of the Phillies season, yesterday afternoon was very much a valley. Fresh off four straight losses at the hands of the Blue Jays, Ryne Sandberg and Co. arrived at Citi Field with a 15-18 record and a last-place standing in the National League East. So when a security guard walked into the visitor's dugout and informed reporters that the Phillies had temporarily closed their clubhouse to outsiders, it seemed like a pretty good bet that Sandberg had a message he wanted to deliver.
Whether that message factored into last night's game is unclear. It all looked as if it would work out until two out in the eighth inning, when Antonio Bastardo walked Daniel Murphy, then gave up a line drive to David Wright that caromed off the wall in leftfield. Murphy scored from first without a throw, and Wright rolled into second with a game-tying double, knotting the score at 2-2.
But perhaps Sandberg's message got through, as Chase Utley scored his third run of the night in the 11th inning as the Phillies rallied to beat the Mets, 3-2.
Utley hit a one-out double to start the rally. Ryan Howard was intentionally walked, and Marlon Byrd put the ball in play for the first time all night (two walks and three strikeouts in his prior plate appearances), hitting an RBI double to right.
Jonathan Papelbon threw all of seven pitches, all strikes, in the bottom of the 11th to record his 10th save of the season.
Starter Roberto Hernandez allowed nine baserunners, three via walk, in five innings, but allowed only one of them to score. Twice, he had a runner on third base with less than two out and escaped. In the first inning, Curtis Granderson's RBI double gave the Mets an early 1-0 lead and put runners on second and third with one out. After hitting Chris Young with a pitch to load the bases, Hernandez struck out Josh Satin and got Wilmer Flores to fly out to end the inning.
Domonic Brown had his first multiple-RBI game since April 14. In the 19 games between then and last night, he hit .174/.216/.217 with 13 strikeouts in 69 at-bats.
One note to file away: Sandberg replaced Ben Revere with Tony Gwynn in centerfield after Gwynn pinch-hit in the eighth. Revere has had some shaky defensive outings over the course of the season's first 6 weeks.
The Phillies promoted hard-throwing relief prospect Kenny Giles to Triple A Lehigh Valley, where he made his debut last night, allowing one run with a strikeout and a walk in one inning of work. Giles struck out 29 while walking five and allowing two earned runs in 15 innings at Double A Reading.
"They'll make him throw more strikes," Sandberg said. "They'll take balls and make the pitcher be in the strike zone. They're older hitters, a lot of guys that have major league experience. That will be a good experience for him."
Reading catcher Tommy Joseph said he was pleased with the move.
"I was surprised that he was here this long, to tell you the truth," Joseph said. "He is something special. I caught him a little bit last year. I know he had the injury stuff. He came into this year with a chip on his shoulder trying to prove to everybody that he's got what it takes. He has been a lot of fun to catch this first month. It has been pretty special to be back there. We have a pretty good relationship. I've trusted him, he's trusted me and he is a fun guy."
Infielder Reid Brignac was promoted from Lehigh Valley to take the place of utility man Freddy Galvis, who was optioned to the minors on Thursday night.
Daily News staff writer Andrew Albert contributed to this report.