On a night dominated by power hitting and power pitching, two “strange” plays will undoubtedly get most of the attention.
Matt Harvey looked sharp early for the Mets, striking out the side in the first inning and surrendering 2 hits through three. By that time, the Mets had a 3-0 lead. David Wright led off the bottom of the second with a base hit to center. After flyouts by Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud, Kelly Johnson hit a rope off the left field wall to score Wright. Ruben Tejada followed with strange play number one. Tejada hit a looping fly ball along the first base line. Phillies’ right fielder Domonic Brown hustled in and couldn’t reach down to grab it as it hugged the line, just barely fair. Brown’s momentum, though, carried him toward the low wall in shallow right. He flipped over the wall as the ball continued to roll all the way to the warning track before it could be retrieved. Tejada sprinted around the bases with an inside-the-park home run, the Mets’ first since Angel Pagan hit one five years ago.
In the third, the Mets tacked on some insurance — as would become necessary later. Curtis Granderson led off with a single. Yoenis Cespedes then hit a quick-dropping line drive to center that Odubel Herrera made a terrific diving grab on. Daniel Murphy then scooted a double past Ryan Howard at first as Brown had trouble picking it up near his favorite wall. After Wright grounded to short, Conforto hit an absolute bomb the opposite way, over the left field fence and the Mets’ cushion had grown to 6-0. All those extra runs would come in handy.
In the top of the fourth, Murphy left the game with what’s being called “discomfort” in his left quadriceps. The next inning, Harvey’s command deserted him. With one out, he gave up solid hits to the next two hitters, then Eric Kratz cracked a two-run, pinch double into the left field gap. After another out, Cesar Hernandez hit a squib grounder to Michael Cuddyer — replacing Murphy at first — who knocked it down and smothered it, but couldn’t get anyone out as Kratz scored, making it 6-3. The Mets got one back in the bottom of the fifth, with Tejada once again the hero. With the bases loaded and one out, he hit a broken bat slow roller which Howard dove for. Howard completed a terrific backhanded flip to first as a run scored.
By the time the game reached the seventh, Harvey was clearly fatigued. He gave up a home run to rookie Darnell Sweeney leading off the inning and after a walk to Hernandez, Terry Collins had seen enough, wagging Sean Gilmartin in from the bullpen. Gilmartin surrendered a base hit to Herrera, bringing up the always-dangerous Howard representing the tying run. Here came strange play number two. Gilmartin got the ground ball he wanted, a three-hopper to Tejada playing the shift on the second base side of the bag. Tejada lunged and missed in an attempt to tag Herrera and got Howard at first. The umpires, though, ruled that Herrera ran out of the baseline — as replays showed he clearly had — and it would go into the books as a double play. The Mets would add a couple more runs, including a Cespedes solo homer in the eighth, to salt this one away.
Another win against the Phillies, another day off the schedule, at the very least. Nothing strange about that.