Mets 4, Phillies 2

NEW YORK -- Jeff Francoeur homered and Mike Pelfrey outpitched a struggling Cole Hamels, leading the New York Mets to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

Francoeur had three hits and Francisco Rodriguez escaped a ninth-inning jam for New York, which took the opener of a four-game series that's lost most of its luster. Ravaged by injuries, the Mets have faded to fourth in the NL East, 13½ games behind their division-leading rivals.

Pelfrey (9-8) tossed six solid innings and got strong relief work from New York's bullpen, making him 3-0 in four starts against Philadelphia this season.

Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes combined for two scoreless innings before handing the ball to Rodriguez. With runners at the corners, the All-Star closer struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for his 27th save in 32 chances.

Hamels (7-8) allowed 10 hits in five innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. The World Series MVP is 0-3 in four August outings.

Only three umpires worked the game because weather-related travel problems prevented crew chief Rick Reed from arriving at Citi Field in time. Nonetheless, Mets manager Jerry Manuel and outfielder Gary Sheffield managed to get ejected.

The start was delayed 76 minutes by rain. Once play began, the Mets announced that Reed, who had been scheduled to umpire third base, was unable to get to the ballpark. Mark Wegner shifted from second base to third -- when no runners were on base. Tim Timmons remained at first and Rob Drake behind the plate.

Francoeur tried to steal second in the fifth and was called out by Wegner, even though replays showed that shortstop Jimmy Rollins missed the tag following a high throw. Francoeur protested and Manuel came out of the dugout for an animated argument before he was ejected by Wegner.

Drake tossed Sheffield in the seventh when he flipped his bat after getting called out on strikes.

Pedro Feliz's RBI single cut it to 4-2 in the sixth and Philadelphia loaded the bases after Mets second baseman Luis Castillo failed to cover first on a sacrifice bunt. It was the second time in three games that Castillo hasn't covered a base in time.

Pelfrey, however, escaped further damage by inducing consecutive popups from pinch-hitter Ben Francisco and Rollins.

Howard put the Phillies ahead with an RBI single in the first.

Fernando Tatis opened the New York second with a standup triple and scored on Daniel Murphy's groundout.

Hamels hit Pelfrey on the left arm with an 0-2 pitch, prompting an angry Pelfrey to toss his bat aside. He glared out at the mound and walked slowly to first, ushered by two umpires.

The mistake by Hamels moved a runner into scoring position and cost the left-hander when Angel Pagan hit an RBI single with two outs.

Francoeur homered to left leading off the third. Another hit batter and Murphy's double set up Omir Santos' unusual sacrifice fly that made it 4-1. Santos hit a foul popup behind first and Howard had to reach into the first row of stands to catch it, allowing Tatis to score.

NOTES: Phillies 3B Greg Dobbs left in the fourth inning with a strained right calf. He was replaced by Feliz. ... Manuel said he is "kind of working on the assumption" that SS Jose Reyes will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury. "That's the feel that I get right now. I haven't gotten a lot of information on where he is at this point," Manuel said. ... Pelfrey plunked Jayson Werth on the left wrist in the sixth.