Fresh as a daisy after six long innings of rest it did not appear he needed, Ryan Howard came off the bench Sunday to key the Phillies' 5-1 win over the Mets, completing a three-game sweep at Citi Field.

Despite eight RBIs in his last four games and home runs in his last two, the first baseman was out of the starting lineup in the series finale, because Monday's off-day afforded Charlie Manuel the opportunity to give his first baseman a mini-vacation.

It's a long season, reasoned the manager, and thanks in part to John Buck's long run for a two-out, nobody on, foul pop by pinch-hitter Layne Nix that clanked off Buck's glove in front of the Philadelphia dugout, the seventh suddenly turned a long inning for the Mets. When the reprieved Nix and Jimmy Rollins followed with hits, Manuel went to Howard, who doubled on a 2-0 pitch from reliever Scott Atchison to the last foot of the warning track in center field to score both runners.

Chase Utley then chased in Howard with a single to left-center field.

The victory made a winner of Cole Hamels for the first time this season. Hamels, lifted for Nix after six walks inflated his pitch count to 111, allowed only two hits over six innings.