(Mets closer Edwin Diaz celebrating as Jay Bruce heads back to the dugout – Photo by Jason Schott)
The Mets got redemption on Saturday night as they came back to beat the Phillies, 6-5, on Saturday night at Citi Field.
One night after having the latest in a long line of tough outings, Mets closer Edwin Diaz earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. He opened it by getting Bryce Harper to line one back to him, then got Rhys Hoskins to line out to third base, and after J.T. Realmuto got a single, Jay Bruce struck out to end it.
Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of seeing Diaz earn the save, his 19th of the season, “That was big, you want something to happen good for this guy because he works so hard every day. You see him out there trying to do everything he can, you know, he cares, he comes with a smile, he comes with energy every day, and his stuff is great, so I’m proud of him for going out there tonight after a tough one last night, shaking that off, and going right through the heart of the order and making good pitches.”
This game featured a matchup between two big right-handed power pitchers, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and Jake Arrieta of the Phillies, but it was not the pitching duel one would have imagined.
Syndergaard went five innings, and allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks, struck out three and he committed two errors on pick-off attempts to first base. Arrieta went 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and no walks, with four strikeouts, and he hit three batters.
The Mets got on the board in the bottom of the first when Jeff McNeil singled and scored on a double from Michael Conforto to make it 1-0.
Since Robinson Cano reached on a hit-by-pitch, that gave the Mets runners at second and third with one out, but they couldn’t cash in as Todd Frazier grounded into a force out and Dominic Smith flew out to left field.
The Phillies responded in the second when ex-Met Jay Bruce launched a two-run home run to right field, and then Maikel Franco hit a solo homer to left to make it 3-1.
The Mets got one back in the bottom of the second when McNeil got an RBI single, and they loaded the bases with one out before Robinson Cano struck out looking and Conforto flew out to left field.
In the top of the third, Jean Segura opened the inning with a single, took second on an errant throw from Syndergaard on a pick-off attempt, then stole third. He came in on a double from Rhys Hoskins that made it 4-2.
In the bottom of the third, Frasier singled and came around to score on a double from Smith when Phillies center fielder Scott Kingery bobbled it, and that cut the Phillies’ lead to 4-3. Left fielder Jay Bruce fired it back in to get Smith at third (he was originally ruled safe and called out after a challenge).
Philadelphia kept the hit parade going in the fourth when Cesar Hernandez and Franco singled, but the Mets turned a double play on a bunt from Arrieta and then Syndergaard struck out Kingery.
In the fifth, Harper walked and then Syndergaard made another error on a pick-off attempt, so he took second. Hoskins then walked to give them two runnners on with one out, but then Realmuto flew out to center and Bruce took one to the warning track in left to end the threat.
Things got heated in the bottom of the fifth when Frazier got hit by a pitch and he was arguing with Arrieta as he walked to first base. The benches did not clear, but each team was issued warnings and Frazier was ejected for arguing with the umpires about that.
Adeiny Hechavarria went in to run for Frazier, and next up was Smith, who laced a double into the right field corner.
Amed Rosario was up next and he got drilled in the back by a pitch to load the bases.
Since a warning was issued, Arrieta should have been tossed, but when it became clear the umpires would not do that, Callaway raced out of the dugout and he got ejected.
Tomas Nido was up next and he hit a double to the gap in right field to clear the bases and give the Mets a 6-4 lead. That was all for Arrieta, who left to a chorus of boos. Edgar Garcia came on and got pinch-hitter J.D. Davis to ground out and he struck out McNeil to end the inning.
Justin Wilson and Robert Gsellman each pitched 2/3 of an inning before the Mets turned to starter Steven Matz, making his second relief appearance of the week.
Matz entered with one on and one out in the seventh, and he gave up a hit to Harper before getting Hoskins to line out to Hehavarria at third base for the second out.
Realmuto then followed with an RBI single to cut the Mets’ lead to 6-5. Bruce grounded out to end the inning.
Matz came back for the eighth, and he gave up a single for Hernandez, and that was all for his night.
Seth Lugo came in next, his second straight night pitching in the eighth inning, and he gave up a single to Franco before getting Brad Miller to fly out and striking out Kingery and Segura to get out of it.
In the bottom of the eighth, McNeil got a two-out hit to give him a four-hit night, the seventh of his career and fourth of the season.
In the ninth, Diaz came on to close it out, and give Syndergaard his sixth win of the season.
Callaway said of Syndergaard’s performance, “Noah was kind of back and forth. He came out in the first inning and I thought ‘he’s gonna dominate tonight’ and then he comes out the next inning, and he gives up three, you know, one (homer) to Franco, who has just killed us this year. He’s got six homers against us for some reason, you know, it’s unbelievable what he’s been doing. Then, he kind of battled the rest of the game through, and he pitched deep enough where we didn’t have to go to the well with our bullpen too early, but it was a battle for him – it was tough. Gotta give it to him for grinding it out, keep us in the game when things could have gone south. That’s what a starter’s job is, even on their days when they don’t have their best stuff.”