In a day that started out for Mets fans as all about the major league debut of first base prospect Dominic Smith, a back-and-forth game broke out between the Mets and Phillies that looked as if it might be remembered for a curious Terry Collins decision to end that debut abruptly. At the end of the night, however, it was a veteran of all of ten games who stole the show, as Amed Rosario broke a 6-6 tie with a leadoff home run in the top of the ninth to send the Mets to a late victory.
Seth Lugo put the Mets in an early hole, surrendering three runs in the first inning. Michael Conforto promptly responded in the top of the second, putting the Mets on the board with a leadoff blast over the high left-center field wall. When Yoenis Cespedes went yard with two on and two out in the top of the third, the Mets had their first lead of the game at 4-3.
The Phillies responded quickly, knotting the game in the bottom of the third on a Tommy Joseph double. After that, Lugo briefly righted the ship, cruising through the fourth and fifth. Meanwhile, the top of the fourth featured Dominic Smith’s first career hit when he snuck a grounder up the middle, and the fifth saw the Mets regain the lead. After Rosario led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed over by Lugo, a clutch two-out Neil Walker single put the Mets back ahead. Walker advanced on a wild pitch and then scored on a Cespedes RBI single, leaving the Mets ahead 6-4 heading into the sixth.
From there, the night looked like it might devolve on the Mets. Lugo, over 100 pitches, tired quickly in the sixth. After a Cesar Hernandez walk, Freddy Galvis pulled a ball down the right field line. The playable grounder slipped past Smith for a double, putting runners on second and third. The following play found the rookie again, as a run scored on a ground out off the bat of Odubel Herrera that Smith had some trouble with. That would be Smith’s last play of his debut, as Terry Collins ended the rookie’s debut a bit earlier than expected, double-switching him out of the game to insert Asdrubal Cabrera at third and move Wilmer Flores to first when removing Seth Lugo.
In the bottom of the eighth, Hernandez tied the game up with a long home run off of Jerry Blevins. Phillie closer Hector Neris entered to start the top of the ninth, and any Met fan could be forgiven for mentally preparing for a game narrative of a blown lead plus Smith’s struggles and early, Collins-aided departure. But Rosario—already 2-for-3 in the game—was clearly ready for a different narrative and a happier recap. The 21-year old led off the ninth by lacing Neris’ fourth pitch the other way over the right-field wall, making his first career home run a game-winner once A.J. Ramos closed out the Phillies in order in the bottom of the ninth for his second save as a Met.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Amed Rosario, +42.0% WPA, Yoenis Cespedes, +32.3% WPA, A.J. Ramos, +19.7% WPA, Paul Sewald, +17.4% WPA, Hansel Robles, +16.9% WPA, Neil Walker, +15.5% WPA
Big losers: Jerry Blevins, -37.0% WPA, Curtis Granderson, -17.2% WPA, Seth Lugo, -15.2% WPA, Rene Rivera, -12.6% WPA, Josh Smoker, -11.3% WPA, Wilmer Flores, -10.3% WPA
The aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario’s ninth-inning home run, 34.0% WPA+
The sux0rest play: Cesar Hernandez’s eighth-inning home run, 32.3% WPA-
Total pitcher WPA: 9.4% WPA-
Total batter WPA: 59.4% WPA+
GWRBI!: Amed Rosario