Phils match 'playoff-type' energy for thrilling extras win vs. Mets

August 13th, 2022

NEW YORK -- With every victory the Phillies secure, they move one step closer to a postseason spot that has eluded them for more than a decade.

If Philadelphia can punch its first ticket to October since 2011, games like Friday night will serve as a solid blueprint for how to win when the lights are brightest.

Stellar pitching, spectacular defense and a timely hit or two were the formula in Friday’s 2-1, 10-inning win over the Mets in front of 38,467 fans at Citi Field, which boasted a postseason-type atmosphere the likes of which many Phillies players had never seen.

“It’s a playoff-type game,” interim manager Rob Thomson said. “That’s the type of atmosphere you're going to face in the playoffs, so it's good to get that experience. … Every pitch, every ball put in play, the game is on the line. One mistake could cost you the game, so it's good practice.”

Alec Bohm’s sacrifice fly provided the game-winning run against Mychal Givens, while David Robertson nailed down the victory with a scoreless 10th, lifting the Phillies to their eighth win in their past nine games and 13th in their past 15.

“You’ve got the elite pitching, you’ve got the atmosphere, you’ve got it all,” Bohm said. “We're playing on the road. It's everything you could ask for.”

Ranger Suárez matched Max Scherzer with seven innings of one-run ball, continuing his superb run since he returned from the injured list on July 16. Suárez has allowed just four earned runs in his past five starts, pitching to a 1.27 ERA over 28 1/3 innings.

“Tremendous,” Thomson said. “He kind of set the tone, putting up seven really good innings. Throwing strikes, hitting his spots, getting weak contact; it was impressive.”

The Phillies scattered nine hits against Scherzer, but after scoring a run in the first inning, they were unable to cash in any of their other opportunities. Then again, getting that early run against Scherzer was quite an accomplishment; he had previously allowed his opponent to score in the first inning just once all season, while the Phillies’ three hits in the opening frame matched the number given up by Scherzer in the first innings across his first 15 starts.

“As the saying goes, you better get the great ones early,” Thomson said. “We got a run early and it gave us a little breathing room, anyway.”

What the offense lacked in timeliness, the defense more than made up for it. Bohm made a spectacular barehanded play in the sixth while the infield turned inning-ending double plays in the fourth and eighth, but the play of the night was the one that forced extra innings.

The Mets had runners at the corners with one out in the ninth of a 1-1 game when Daniel Vogelbach lined out to Matt Vierling in left field. Starling Marte -- who led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Francisco Lindor’s fly ball to center -- made a move toward the plate.

Bohm thought Marte was bluffing. Vierling knew better.

“I didn't think they were going to send him,” Bohm said. “But in a game like that, runs are tough to come by.”

Vierling fired a perfect strike to the plate, where J.T. Realmuto applied the tag for the third out. The Phillies were clearly pumped up, but their work wasn’t quite done.

“To get it done felt really good,” Vierling said. “Seeing all the guys, how fired up they were, that made it even better.”

The last time the Phillies walked off this field, they were on the wrong side of an extra-inning loss. That finished off a Mets sweep that all but sealed former manager Joe Girardi’s fate; he would be relieved of his duties a few days later.

After Bohm’s go-ahead RBI and Robertson’s second save since being acquired by the Phillies at the Trade Deadline, the Phils are now 41-20 since Thomson assumed managerial duties on June 3, leaving them a half-game in front of the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers, who sit in fourth place in the NL Wild Card standings.

“I feel like for the most part we are a different team right now,” Vierling said. “We’re jelling together a lot better and we're starting to come into our own as a team; coming here, they're a really good ballclub over there, so going toe to toe against them and how we're feeling right now, it's a lot of fun. It will help us down the road, too.”