The New York Mets were the visitors in this week’s 4-game series with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. But it sure didn’t look or feel like it, as the NL East leaders were backed by thousands of their fans in the stands and swept the Phils, taking all four games and outscoring their hosts by a combined 40-21 margin.
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In the Thursday series finale, the New Yorkers took a 2nd straight 9-5 game, and this one took 4 extra frames. The Mets scored four runs in the top of the 13th to gain their 9th straight win in the overall series between the two division rivals. It is their 11th in the last 12 meetings, and 23rd in 28 games stretching back to May of 2014.
It was also another night where the Phillies jumped out to a nice lead, only to have the Mets come roaring back. The Phils scored five times in the bottom of the 3rd for that early lead.
Mets starter Jonathan Niese got a bit wild, walking two batters with a man already on base and one out in that 3rd inning. The Phillies would make him pay for those free passes. A 2-run single from Jeff Francoeur and an RBI ground out by rookie Aaron Altherr set the stage, and a big 2-run homer to right center from Darin Ruf provided the exclamation point.
That was really all Niese allowed. In his 6 innings, he allowed the 5 earned runs on 5 hits, 3 of those coming in that 3rd inning. Unfortunately for the Phillies, their starter, Aaron Harang, couldn’t hold that lead. In fact, he gave it back almost immediately, as the visitors flexed their longball muscles.
The Mets got a pair in the top of the 4th on a 2-run homer by former Phillies prospect catcher Travis d’Arnaud. In the top of the 5th, Yoenis Cespedes crushed another 2-run shot, his 26th of the year to center field. Then with two outs in that 5th, Kelly Johnson drove his 12th homer of the year out to right center, drawing the Mets even at 5-5.
That would be all the scoring from either team for more than 7 innings. The Phillies would parade out 6 relievers, the Mets would send out 5, and 10 of the 11 would shut down their opposition. Unfortunately for the hosts, it was their reliever who cracked.
In the top of the 13th inning, Elvis Araujo allowed two hits and recorded an out, but then had to be removed due to a groin injury. That brought on Hector Neris, and it would be against him that the Mets would break through, and break the game open.
Daniel Murphy greeted Neris with a 2-run double down the left field line, and Murphy moved on to 3rd on an error by Freddy Galvis. David Wright then reached on an error by Neris that allowed Murphy to score, making it an 8-5 Mets lead. Then with two outs, Neris hit d’Arnaud with a pitch, and allowed an RBI single to Michael Conforto, creating what would be the final 9-5 margin.
In postgame comments to reporters including Todd Zolecki at MLB.com on the 7.88 ERA registered by his overmatched pitching staff in the series, Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin stated: “That tells the story. We know what our issues are and we have to improve.”
The Phillies have now lost 11 of their last 16 games to fall back to the bottom of the Major League Baseball overall standings. The Mets, meanwhile, have now opened up a 6.5 game lead on the Washington Nationals atop the National League East. Only a dwindling number of Phillies remember what such a feeling is like.