Mets squander 5-run lead as Phillies rally
PHILADELPHIA -- Ten walks, seven wild pitches, four hit batters, 17 pitchers and two ejections. The Mets' quest for home-field advantage took a turn for the ugly in a 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, when three hours and 59 minutes of baseball produced a crowded box score and a clubhouse full of frustrated Mets.
Freddy Galvis' two-run single and a pair of wild pitches allowed the Phillies to complete a comeback from five runs down with a three-run sixth, taking their first lead of the game. By that point, Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was long gone, having been hit on the hand by a Justin De Fratus pitch in the third. Also absent were reliever Hansel Robles and manager Terry Collins, both of whom were ejected.
"You look at some of the at-bats, and we're better than that," Collins said. "After the big celebration and the big events over the weekend, we've got to get rekindled here."
However, with the Dodgers' loss to the Giants, the Mets maintained their one-game lead over Los Angeles for home-field advantage in the National League Division Series with four games to play.
"Yeah, I mean, I know it's in my head," De Fratus said of spoiling the Mets' home-field hopes. "At least if we can't play for a spot in the playoffs, then it's nice not to do them any favors."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A wild sixth: Robles' ejection was just the beginning of the sixth, which saw the Mets use four pitchers and cough up three runs -- including the game-tying and go-ahead ones. Given unlimited time to warm in relief of Robles, Bobby Parnell inherited Cameron Rupp's plate appearance and walked him, then walked another batter and threw a wild pitch to move both Phillies into scoring position. Galvis followed with a game-tying two-run single up the middle, later scoring the go-ahead run on the second of Carlos Torres' two wild pitches. More >
Five-spot: Early on, it seemed as if the Mets might cruise to victory. Daniel Murphy capped an 11-pitch at-bat with a three-run homer to right-center, and Michael Conforto added a two-run opposite-field shot to give the Mets a 5-0 lead before the Phillies came to bat.
"When you get off to a 5-0 lead, you expect to win the game," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "Obviously, they made the big plays and got the big hits to win."
Asher's early exit: Phillies rookie Alec Asher lasted just seven batters, allowing five runs and two home runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Asher finished his season 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts, making him a long-shot candidate to make the 2016 rotation out of Spring Training.
"He needs some polish," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's going to be a good pitcher. He's not quite there yet. It's our job to polish him up."
Phillies bullpen delivers: Asher's early exit forced the Phillies' bullpen into action. They used seven relief pitchers, allowing just three hits, and none after the fourth inning. The Phillies also walked two and struck out six in 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
"I had a line of relief pitchers that had smiles on their faces," Mackanin said. "They all contributed."
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
In what was momentarily a scary scene on the field, Cespedes left the game after De Fratus hit him on the left hand with an 89-mph fastball in the third inning. X-rays were negative, and Cespedes escaped with nothing more than a bruise of his middle and ring fingers. More >
Also departing due to injury was Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores, who complained of back stiffness after singling in the fourth. Flores has also been battling cold symptoms in recent days.
ROBLES, COLLINS EJECTED
The hit-by-pitch drama did not end with Cespedes. Two innings later, Phillies reliever Adam Loewen plunked Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and then Mets starter Logan Verrett hit Odubel Herrera. That prompted home-plate umpire Bob Davidson to warn both benches, which wound up clearing when Robles threw near Rupp's head in the sixth. Davidson ejected both Robles and Collins, who watched from the clubhouse as a trio of Mets relievers allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score. More >
"Absolutely. Absolutely. It makes it that much sweeter. It would be nice to get another one tomorrow."
-- Rupp, on if there is any satisfaction beating the Mets, knowing they are fighting for home-field advantage in the NLDS
"It was an ugly game. The huge buildup we had going into Cincinnati and all of the energy used up in that series ... those guys got drained because of that. Guys need a little time to get the adrenaline back in their systems."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Phillies won a game in which their starter did not finish one inning for the first time since Sept. 2, 2006, when Scott Mathieson didn't record an out. It was also the first time the Phillies clinched a series against the Mets since April 9-11, 2014.
The Phillies challenged Eric Young Jr.'s stolen base in the sixth inning, believing second baseman Darnell Sweeney tagged Young before he reached the bag. But the ruling on the field stood as called.
Mets: The threat of rain forced the Mets and Phillies to move their originally scheduled series finale to Thursday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. ET. Lefty Sean Gilmartin will start a bullpen game for the Mets in place of injured starter Steven Matz.
Phillies: Rookie right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (2-3, 3.07 ERA) starts the series finale against the Mets. Regardless of how he pitches Thursday, Eickhoff will enter Spring Training a favorite to earn a spot in the 2016 rotation.
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