Mets Show Phillies Why They’re in First
By Matt Veasey
In a hard-fought game down in South Philly, the visiting New York Mets (20-11) showed why they are in first place in the NL East, coming through with clutch hits and then nailing the game down with strong defense to defeat the Phillies (11-21) by a 7-4 score at Citizens Bank Park.
Chad Billingsley (0-2) made his 2nd start of the year, the 2nd of this Phillies career, and his 2nd since returning from two years lost to injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation. He was hit hard again, allowing 5 earned runs on 8 hits and a walk in 5 innings.
The Phillies drew first blood in the bottom of the 3rd when Billingsley homered off Mets starter Bartolo Colon. It was the 3rd career homerun for Billingsley, his first since June 5th, 2011 while pitching for the Dodgers against Travis Wood, then of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. He became the first Phils pitcher to homer since Cole Hamels back in July of 2012.
The Mets tied it in the top of the 4th when Lucas Duda struck a one-out double to right, and came around to score when Wilmer Flores followed with an rbi single. The Phils recovered the lead immediately in the bottom of the frame when Chase Utley led off with a double, and came around to score on a two-out rbi single from Grady Sizemore.
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New York temporarily took charge with a pair of runs in both the top of the 5th and 6th. In the 5th, it was a 2-run homer by Curtis Granderson. In the 6th, Flores led off with a double and was followed by an rbi double off the bat of Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
At that point, Justin De Fratus came on to pitch for the Phils. Nieuwenhuis immediately stole 3rd, and came in to score when catcher Cameron Rupp threw the ball away. The Mets had themselves a 5-2 lead, and against this popgun Philly offense, that is usually enough.
However, the Fightin’ Phils fought back with a pair of their own in the bottom of the 7th. Sizemore led off with a base hit and Cody Asche doubled to put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Cesar Hernandez then came up as a pinch-hitter for Rupp, and came through with an rbi single to center making it 5-3.
That sequence began a bit of a coaching chess match, with the Phillies’ Ryne Sandberg sending up pinch-hitters and Mets’ skipper Terry Collins bringing in his bullpen. Jeff Francoeur delivered a sac fly off Mets reliever Erik Goeddel, scoring Asche and pulling the Phils withing one at 5-4.
In the top of the 8th, the visitors gave themselves back some breathing room, perhaps not wanting to blow a win for Colon, who gave them another strong start. With Jeanmar Gomez in to pitch for the Phils, Mets pinch-hitter Johnny Monell delivered a big 2-run double to put New York up by a 7-4 score.
Colon (6-1) lasted 6+ innings on this Mother’s Day afternoon, allowing 4 earned runs on 8 hits, striking out 6 and walking no one in becoming the Major’s first 6-game winner of the season. With the walkless outing, Colon stretched a streak out to 40 consecutive innings without allowing a walk, the 2nd longest such streak in Mets history.
The Phillies took a shot in the bottom of the 9th against Mets closer Jeurys Familia, getting a baserunner. However, the Mets threw some leather: 2nd baseman Tejada came up with a couple of nice defensive plays, the first on an in-between hop and the 2nd on a chop by Revere that Tejada flipped to 1st with his glove. Nieuwenhuis then made a strong sliding catch up against the left field sidewall to end it.
The win gave the Mets the series and kept them riding high atop the NL East. For the Phillies, the loss dropped them a season-high 10 games below the .500 mark and kept them solidly at the bottom of the NL East.
The Phils will welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to Citizens Bank Park for a 4-game set beginning tomorrow night. Former Phils starters A.J. Burnett and Vance Worley are scheduled to pitch the 2nd and 4th games for the Bucs on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.