PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Just like the old days, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard rose to the occasion against a tough opponent in front of a big crowd.
Howard homered and drove in two runs, Hamels outpitched Matt Harvey and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 3-1 Friday night.
"You want to pitch in front of the crowd, have that energy," Hamels said. "It's something you want to see and do for 162 games. This is the best place to play when you're winning."
Hamels (2-3) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out eight.
The Phillies used to sellout nightly when they were winning five straight division titles between 2007-11. But now a crowd of 32,734 is considered large. It was the most since opening day.
"I was pretty excited to see that," closer Jonathan Papelbon said after tying Jose Mesa's team record with his 112th save for the Phillies.
Harvey (5-1) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings for his first career loss before June and first in seven starts against Philadelphia. The hard-throwing righty was 10-0 in 16 starts in April and May.
"It's different, but we've all been going through it," Harvey said about pitching on extra rest.
Philadelphia's Freddy Galvis was 3 for 3 with a walk, raising his team-best batting average to .351.
Ken Giles tossed a perfect eighth and Papelbon finished for his sixth save in six tries. Papelbon also is the Boston Red Sox franchise leader in saves.
"It's humbling to be at the top," he said. "If we play every night with that intensity and that swag, we can reel off a few wins."
Hamels, who came in with the lowest run support in the NL at 1.67 runs per game, didn't need much while rebounding from a rough start — six runs allowed in a 7-0 loss at Miami.
"Cole was really in control," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Biggest difference is he established hard inside."
Howard gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead when he led off the bottom of the fourth with a drive out to left-center. Howard has hit all six of his homers in the last 15 games.
"He's starting to look good," Sandberg said.
Ben Revere's RBI single in the fifth extended the lead to 3-1. Carlos Ruiz started the inning with a single and advanced on Hamels' sacrifice.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first on Howard's RBI single. Galvis hit a single, stole second and scored on Howard's hard liner.
The Mets tied it at 1 in the fourth when Hamels threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
Hamels improved to 9-14 in 32 starts against New York. The three-time All-Star has given up one run or fewer in three of his last four starts. He's 9-0 in the last 15 games the Phillies have scored three runs or more for him.
The Phillies beat the Mets for only the fifth time in the last 20 games.
The Mets wasted a chance after Dilson Herrera led off the third with a double. Harvey struck out trying to sacrifice, Curtis Granderson fouled out and Juan Lagares fanned.
Six-time All-Star 2B Chase Utley was 0 for 4, dropping his average to .099. Yet Sandberg is reluctant to pull him from the No. 3 spot in the batting order. "He's still the guy I want up there with a man on third," Sandberg said.
Mets: 3B David Wright has developed back pain and his rehabilitation program has been put on hold. The seven-time All-Star has been sidelined since April 15 because of a strained right hamstring. An MRI on his lower back showed no structural damage and manager Terry Collins said it's not a major injury. ... RHP Dillon Gee is heading to the 15-day disabled list because of a groin injury, paving the way for prospect Noah Syndergaard to make his major league debut on Tuesday.
Phillies: OF Domonic Brown is hitting .233 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brown was started the season on the DL with an Achilles injury.
Mets: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.40) looks for his fifth straight win against the Phillies in Game 2 of this series. Niese is 9-6 vs. Philadelphia, including 4-0 in his last six starts. The Mets are 6-0 in those games.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang (3-2, 2.35) makes his 15th career start against the Mets. Harang is 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA vs. New York.
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