The visiting New York Mets made themselves at home again on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly, taking a 6-5 decision from the host Phillies. It marks the Mets 7th consecutive win over the Phils, and their 9th in 10 meetings this season between the two teams.
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Since the Phillies took back-to-back games between the two clubs early last season, the Mets have taken 21 of the last 26 games between these two divisional rivals. It’s beyond safe to say it now: the Mets not only have the Phils number, but they are a superior team at this point.
While it was in blowout fashion that the New Yorkers took Monday’s contest, on Tuesday the NL East leaders showed that they could win a close one as well. It was also the 2nd straight night that the visitors showed that they could spot the home nine a lead, and rally from behind.
The Mets actually bolted on top in this one, getting to shaky Phillies starting pitcher Jerome Williams for 3 early runs over the first two innings. After a Ryan Howard error allowed Curtis Granderson to reach 1st base leading off the game, the red-hot Yoenis Cespedes followed immediately by bashing his 25th homer of the season to center field for a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the 2nd, Met’s starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard lined a 2-out RBI double to right field, pushing the early lead out to 3-0. Williams (4-10) settled down at that point, and got into a nice groove, shutting the Mets out from that point and into the 6th inning.
Meanwhile, the Phillies bats put up a crooked number against Syndergaard (8-6), scoring four times in the bottom of the 3rd. It was a pair of 2-out longballs that did the damage off the Mets rookie. First, Freddy Galvis lofted his 6th to right center. Then two batters later, Ryan Howard drove his 21st of the year to the opposite field. Those 2-run shots put the Phils on top by 4-3.
Williams took that lead into the 6th, but he wouldn’t get through the frame safely. When two of the first three Mets batters reached base, he was done, replaced by Jeanmar Gomez. The righty reliever had pitched very effectively for the Phillies in the early months of the season, but that seems to have disappeared in the recent weeks. This outing would be more of the same.
After getting the first batter he faced for the 2nd out of the inning, Gomez walked Michael Conforto to load the bases, and then Travis d’Arnaud to force in the tying run. Mets’ skipper Terry Collins then sent Michael Cuddyer up to pinch-hit for Syndergaard, and the move paid off when the veteran lofted a 2-run single to center field, putting the Mets on top by 6-4.
“He’s elevating the sinker,” said Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin in his postgame interview per MLB.com. “He had both of those guys with two strikes on them and he just couldn’t put them away. The base hit to Cuddyer was a sinker but he elevated it. It was too on it.”
That was it for Gomez, who was then lifted by Mackanin in favor of Elvis Araujo. The Phils’ bullpen would keep the New York bats off the scoreboard the rest of the way, but the damage would prove to have already been done.
The Phillies batters immediately answered with a run in their half of the 6th, putting together a pair of singles and an RBI ground out from Carlos Ruiz to get the home side back within 6-5. But that would prove to be the final score, as the back-end of the Mets bullpen would allow just one hit the rest of the way.
On Wednesday night, the Phillies will try, try again, this time with rookie Jerad Eickhoff getting his 2nd MLB start. The righty acquired as the first-arriving piece from the Cole Hamels deal went 6 strong innings over last weekend in Miami. He’ll be facing 42-year old veteran Bartolo Colon, who has had a solid season fronting the New York rotation as they waited for some of their younger arms to develop, and for others to return from injury.