Tempers flared like the rivalry of old and Michael Cuddyer was the hero du jour as the Mets came from behind to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, their fifth straight victory.
Noah Syndergaard started, looking for his first major league road win. The game’s first two hitters staked him to an early 2-0 lead. Curtis Granderson reached on an error by the Phillies’ massive mainstay Ryan Howard. Yoenis Cespedes followed that up with a 2-run bomb and at first it appeared the cannonading of Philadelphia would continue for another night. When the Mets added another run on a two out single by Travis d’Arnaud and a long double by Syndergaard, it looked like it would be smooth sailing at 3-0.
Not so fast…
For his part, Syndergaard skated through the first two innings, but ran into some big trouble in the third. Carlos Ruiz led off with a ground rule double and after strikeouts by pitcher Jerome Williams and second baseman Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis launched a homer of his own to tie the game. Odubel Herrera then reached on an error by Mets’ second sacker Kelly Johnson and Howard launched one of his patented shots over the wall and the Phils led it, 4-3.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, though, that ol’ Met magic we’re all starting to get used to struck again. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with a walk and David Wright followed with a strikeout. Johnson then dribbled a base hit through second. That was all for Williams, who was replaced by Jeanmar Gomez. Wilmer Flores hit a hard liner right at the shortstop, but Michael Conforto worked out a walk to load the bases and Travis d’Arnaud also took a free pass to tie the game. Cuddyer came on to pinch hit for Syndergaard and looped a base hit into shallow center, chasing home Johnson and Conforto and suddenly the Mets had a two-run lead.
The real excitement, though, came in the bottom of the seventh, when relief pitcher Hansel Robles tried to “quick-pitch” Phillies’ pinch hitter Darren Ruf. Robles delivered to the plate before Ruf was alert — a very dangerous tactic. The Phillies’ bench erupted and spilled out onto the field, with bench coach and noted hothead Larry Bowa thrown out of the game. In any case, Robles pitched a stellar sixth and seventh — striking out Ruf for that inning’s final out. Tyler Clippard came on in the eighth and struggled. He gave up a long fly to Howard — expertly run down by Cespedes — then a base hit by Andres Blanco and a walk to Cody Asche. He got Domonic Brown to strike out, but manager Terry Collins had seen enough, wagging his finger to the bullpen to summon Jeurys Familia for the four-out save. Familia was up to the task this night and the Mets came away with yet another win.
With the Washington Nationals also victorious tonight, another precious page is torn off the calendar and the Mets are now that much closer to paydirt.