The New York Mets may be playing out the string of a disappointing season, but don’t tell the Philadelphia Phillies that, as they got all they wanted from their division rivals from Gotham, edging them 5-4 behind a solid out from starter Ranger Suarez and four runs knocked in by Nick Castellanos. The Phillies maintain a three-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first National League Wild Card spot with nine games remaining.
Back and Forth We Go
The Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner both walked, then with one out, Bryce Harper singled to load the bases. After J.T. Realmuto struck out, Castellanos came through with a single to center, to drive in two runs – he would add to the total.
Francisco Lindor led off the second for the Mets with a single to left. He stole second base and scored on a double to left by Jeff McNeil. With two outs, Brett Baty singled to Castellanos in right field to tie the score.
In their half of the third, the Phillies took the lead back. Alec Bohm pounded a ball off his foot and lay on the ground for a moment. He got up and ensured he wouldn’t have to put too much pressure on his foot by hitting the ball into the seats in left for his 18th home run of the season. Harper followed with his second single of the night. He went to third when Realmuto singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Castellanos.
The Mets tied it again with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings. McNeil tripled to lead off the fourth and scored on a fly ball. Mark Vientos’ homer to left was the equalizer, but it didn’t stay knotted long.
Castellanos’ Moon Shot
In the Phils’ sixth, Castellanos went deep for the third time in two games. This one was blasted off the facing of the second deck in left field – 454 feet from home plate.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the eighth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Lindor, who stole second and stopped at third on McNeil’s one-out single to left. Kimbel was able to retire Francisco Alvarez on a pop-up and struck out Baty. All this with Lindor dancing off third the whole time.
In the ninth, Jose Alvarado gave up a one-out double to Brandon Nimmo but got a fly ball out, then ended it with a strikeout of Pete Alonzo and his 45 home runs.
Battling Divionsal Foes
“The two stats, that personally, I care about the most,” said Castellanos, who now has a career-high 103 RBIs, “are how many times you touch home and how many times you help other people touch home.”
“Even though they scored four runs on me,” said Suarez, through interpreter Diego Ettedgui, “I still wanted to go deep in the game and get my job done.”
Suarez pitched into the seventh, leaving with two outs in the frame. The Mets scored those four runs on five hits, a pair of walks, and a hit batter.
“Division opponents,” said Bohm when asked about the Mets, who the Phillies face in six of their final nine games, “we know each other, we play close games. It’s fun, competitive baseball. The competition in the division makes you better. You’ve got to play good baseball to beat these teams.”
Game two of the four-game set with the Mets is set for Friday night. The Phillies will honor new Hall of Famer Scott Rolen before the game by inducting him into the Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies maintain a three-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first National League Wild Card spot with nine games remaining.
Rock Hoffman has been covering sports in the Philadelphia region for over 30 years. He’s been the co-host of a radio show – SportsPage – on the Delaware Valley Radio Network (WRDV.org) in the time. He’s reported on games involving all the Philadelphia teams at the profession and collegiate levels. During his career he’s provided coverage for a Super Bowl, an All-Star Game, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games as well NFL, MLB and NHL playoff games. Additionally, he’s the College Football Editor for Football Stories Magazine (FootballStories.com).