(Two Phillies cross the plate after scoring in the fifth against Noah Syndergaard (top left) – Photo by Jason Schott)
The Mets lost the rubber game of their series with the Phillies, 10-7, on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, a battle that took four hours and 29 minutes to complete.
The Phillies improved to 74-68, and have opened up a two-game lead on the Mets, who fell to 72-70.
The Mets missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on the Chicago Cubs (76-66, who lost in Milwaukee), whom they remain four games behind, and the Arizona Diamondbacks (75-68, who lost in Cincinnati), who come to Citi Field for a four-game set on Monday night.
The Mets jumped out to an early lead against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the bottom of the first when Wilson Ramos crushed a two-run home run to deep left, and Robinson Cano followed with a solo shot to make it 3-0 Mets. It was the 12th time this season they went back-to-back with the long ball.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, who gave up 10 runs in his last appearance at Citi Field on August 28, retired the side in the first, worked around a Rhys Hoskins double in the second, but ran into trouble in the third.
Andrew Knapp led the frame off with a walk, and then with one out, Cesar Hernandez singled before Jean Segura hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Knapp and make it 3-1 Mets.
They kept it going in the fourth when Adam Haseley hit a bomb to deep left to pull the Phillies within one.
In the fifth, Knapp led off with a single, and then with two outs, Segura singled.
Corey Dickerson was up next, and he hit a pop up into foul territory behind third base that McNeil got leather on, but couldn’t handle. Dickerson made the Mets pay when he laced a two-run hit to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. The inning ended when Dickerson was caught trying to reach second base on the hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, after Michael Conforto flew out, Velasquez walked Ramos and Cano, and that was all for his day.
Jared Hughes was first out of the Philadelphia bullpen and he walked the only batter he faced, J.D. Davis, to load the bases.
Ranger Suarez was in next, and he allowed a single to Brandon Nimmo, and that brought in Ramos to tie the game at 4.
Amed Rosario then bounced into a fielder’s choice before Todd Frazier, who was pinch-hitting for Syndergaard, struck out to end the inning.
That was the end of the day for Syndergaard, whose final line read: 5 innings, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 78 pitches/57 strikes.
Paul Sewald came on for the Mets in the sixth, and he allowed a double down the left field line to Hoskins before Scott Kingery sacrificed him over.
Luis Avilan was next out of the Mets’ bullpen, and he was greeted by an RBI single from Phil Gosselin, who golfed one into shallow right to score Hoskins.
Maikel Franco followed with the big blow, a two-run shot to deep left to make it 7-4 Philadelphia.
The Mets responded in the bottom of the sixth against Phils reliever Jose Alvarez, as Jeff McNeil worked out a walk in a 12-pitch at-bat before Pete Alonso and Conforto singled to load the bases.
Ramos followed with an RBI groundout before Cano hit a sacrifice fly to left to pull the Mets within one at 7-6, and that was all for Alvarez.
Mike Morin came on to face Davis, and he hit one down the right field line that Sean Rodriguez made a phenomenal catch on at the fence to end the inning.
Justin Wilson came on for the Mets in the seventh, and has been on quite a run of dominance, as he had allowed just two runs in 26 outings (22 2/3 innings) for a 0.79 ERA since returning from the injured list on July 2.
That run ended in this one when Kingery hit a two-run shot to left field to make it 9-6 Phillies.
Tyler Bashlor was next in for the Mets, and he walked Rodriguez before allowing a double off the left field fence to Franco.
They walked Knapp to load the bases bring up the pitcher’s spot, so Bryce Harper, who did not start the game, came up as a pinch-hitter.
Harper worked the count to 3-1 before he swung over a fastball to make it a full count, but Bashlor eventually walked him to force in a run and make it 10-6 Phillies.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets loaded the bases with none out against Blake Parker, who recovered by retiring McNeil (fly out to center), Alonso (pop out to catcher), and Conforto (strike out looking).
The Mets then had a golden opportunity in the ninth against Phillies closer Hector Neris, as Rosario and McNeil singled to give them two on with one out.
Neris struck out Alonso, who went 1-for-5 with a run scored and a hit-by-pitch, and Conforto grounded out to end it. Conforto also went 1-for-5 with a walk and a run scored.