The New York Mets, riding high atop the National League East, spotted the host Phillies a 7-2 lead at Citizens Bank Park in the opener of a 4-game series. The visitors then roared back, bashing a franchise-record eight home runs in pulling past and away from the Phils by a 16-7 final.
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The game featured the return to action of Mets’ longtime lead and Captain, 3rd baseman David Wright, who had missed the last four months of play due to a spinal condition. Wright contributed mightily to the barrage, smashing the first of those record homers in the 2nd inning, in his first plate appearance.
“It’s incredible to be a part of,” Wright said, as reported by MLB.com. “We just know that we’re going to win the game. That’s the type of confidence that you can’t tell somebody to have, that you can’t force upon somebody. You just have to get good at winning. And this team is getting good at winning.”
Early on, things were going the Phillies way. They bashed three homers of their own off young Mets starting pitching sensation Jake deGrom, driving him from the game after just 2.2 innings. In the shortest outing of his career, deGrom allowed 7 runs, 6 of those earned, on 8 hits. He also walked 3 batters.
After two of the first three batters reached against deGrom in the bottom of the 1st, Ryan Howard lifted his 20th home run of the season over the left field wall to give the Phils an early 3-0 lead. It marks the 9th time in his career that Howard has reached 20 homers in a season, 2nd all-time in franchise history to only Mike Schmidt.
After Wright’s homer, a solo shot off Phillies rookie starter Adam Morgan, got the Mets on the board in the top of the 2nd, the Phillies again homered off deGrom, this time with Cameron Rupp leading off the bottom of the 2nd inning.
The longballs continued in the top of the 2nd, when Juan Lagares reached Morgan for a solo shot. But the Phillies again responded in their half of the 3rd, driving deGrom to an early shower. The big blow was a 3-run homer from Domonic Brown that made it 7-2.
From there, the Mets bullpen would restore order, allowing the bats to get going and pull away. Over the next 6+ innings, four relievers would shut the Phillies out on just 3 hits. In particular, Sean Gilmartin, who relieved deGrom with 3.1 shutout innings, did a fantastic job.
Down 7-2, those Mets bats would get to work in the top of the 4th, driving Morgan from the game in scoring three times to draw close on back-to-back homers from Wilmer Flores and former Phillies farm hand Travis d’Arnaud.
Morgan lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits. He struck out 3 and walked no one, and 41 of his 64 hits went for strikes. But as deGrom, who was also around the plate with 50 of 83 pitches for strikes, also learned, this was no night to be placing pitches around the plate.
Over the balance of the contest, New York took charge fully, bashing in the Phillies bullpen. Hector Neris would allow 4 earned runs in just 1.1 innings. Justin de Fratus followed with 2 innings over which he was shelled for 5 earned runs on 7 hits. Finally, Adam Loewen yielded 2 earned on 3 hits over the final 2 innings.
Those runs came largely on further gopher balls. Neris gave up a pair, to Flores hitting his 2nd of the game, and to Michael Cuddyer. In the 6th, Daniel Murphy got in on the fun by taking de Fratus deep. Finally, Yoenis Cespedes drove one out off Loewen in the 9th.
The two teams combined in the end for a National League-record 11 homers, one short of the MLB record. As MLB.com reported, Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin was matter-of-fact about the shelling. “The best thing to do is own up to it. It was embarrassing. It’s not what we wanted to see, but put it behind us and move on.”
It might be difficult for this Phillies team to “move on” expecting much success against this Mets team. There are 18.5 games separating the 1st and last place squads, and the pitching matchups will all fall in the visitors favor. Whatever Phils fans do show up at the ballpark this week had best get used to “Let’s Go Mets!” chants dominating the atmosphere.