NEW YORK Mike Schmidt figures Philadelphia has a psychological edge over the Mets. On this night, though, Brett Myers was New York's biggest problem.
Myers buzzed through the Mets' lineup, pitching eight dominant innings and leading the Phillies to a 3-0 victory Friday that cut their NL East deficit to two games.
"This is his best game this year. This is definitely the most impressive. Right on time, too," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
Greg Dobbs hit a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (13-9), and the Phillies took the opener of a crucial series between the top teams in the division. Brad Lidge got through a shaky ninth, retiring Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church with two on to end New York's sixth loss in 23 games.
Philadelphia began last September's rally past the collapsing Mets with a three-game sweep at Shea Stadium, and Schmidt wants to see the Phillies do it again. So he sent the team an inspirational message that is sure to rankle Mets fans.
A Philadelphia star from 1972-89 and now a special instructor in spring training for the club, Schmidt wrote Manuel an e-mail that he posted on the inside door of the clubhouse for his players to see as they headed out for batting practice Friday.
Part of it read: "the Mets know you're better than they are. They remember last year."
Call it the latest public boast in this now-bitter rivalry.
"To each his own. He's obviously biased in his e-mails or letters," New York third baseman David Wright said. "I see a starting pitcher that goes out there and throws like Brett Myers that works much better than a rally cry from a former player."
REDS 10, CUBS 2: At Cincinnati, Jay Bruce hit his first career grand slam and Joey Votto added a two-run homer, an all-rookie power display that help Cincinnati beat Chicago on a day when nothing went right for the first-place Cubs. Manager Lou Piniella got lost on his way to the ballpark. Starter Ted Lilly lasted a season-low two innings. And the Cubs' losing streak reached a season-high six games against a team already eliminated from the race.
BRAVES 10, NATIONALS 5: At Atlanta, rookie Brandon Jones' three-run double capped a seven-run third inning, and Kelly Johnson had three hits and two RBIs in the Braves' win over the Nationals. The Braves have consecutive wins for the first time since Aug. 9, a span of 25 games.
ROCKIES 5, ASTROS 3: At Denver, Clint Barmes homered, Ubaldo Jimenez won for just the second time in a month and Colorado ended Houston's eight-game winning streak.
Jimenez (10-12) allowed three runs and five hits, struck out six, hit two batters and walked one in six-plus innings.
The Rockies, who started the day six games behind Arizona in the NL West, have won three of their first four on the current six-game homestand.
MARLINS 4, CARDINALS 1 (11): At St. Louis, Dan Uggla singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and Florida beat reeling St. Louis. The Cardinals blew their major league-leading 30th save chance on Mike Jacobs' 29th homer off rookie Chris Perez with one out in the ninth. Jacobs' shot to center field on a low fastball was his first in 70 career at-bats against St. Louis pitching. Uggla's hit came off an 0-2 fastball from another rookie, Jason Motte.
BREWERS 3, PADRES 2 (11): At Milwaukee, CC Sabathia pitched seven strong innings, but the Brewers needed a RBI single from J.J. Hardy in the 11th to beat San Diego. The win snapped the Brewers' four-game losing streak and got them within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, who lost to Cincinnati on Friday.
RED SOX 8, RANGERS 1: At Arlington, Texas, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell had an immediate impact in their return to the lineup for the AL wild card-leading Boston Red Sox. Beckett struck out seven over five scoreless innings in his first start in nearly three weeks and Lowell came off the disabled list to go 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs.
WHITE SOX 10, ANGELS 2: At Chicago, Juan Uribe homered twice, Paul Konerko added a solo shot and Mark Buehrle pitched six shutout innings for the White Sox. Chicago didn't miss AL home run leader Carlos Quentin, who will undergo surgery Monday on a fractured right wrist and could be lost for the season.
TWINS 10, TIGERS 2: At Minneapolis, Justin Morneau hit a grand slam and Francisco Liriano threw seven-plus innings to help Minnesota end a three-game skid. Delmon Young also homered and had an RBI double in the seventh to help the Twins score more runs than they did in their previous three games combined in Toronto.
INDIANS 9, ROYALS 3: At Kansas City, Mo., Victor Martinez reached base four times in his return to catching, helping Cleveland earn its 10th straight road win.
BLUE JAYS 6, RAYS 4: At Toronto, Roy Halladay pitched seven solid innings to win his fifth straight start, Alex Rios hit two homers and the Toronto Blue Jays extended their season-high winning streak to six.
ATHLETICS 11, ORIOLES 2: At Baltimore, Rajai Davis' grand slam was the only Oakland hit in an eight-run eighth inning, and the Athletics topped the six-run barrier for the first time in 41 games.