Steven Matz took the mound for the Mets on Saturday against Jason Vargas and the Phillies. The New York lefty outdueled the Philadelphia one, though neither pitcher’s line was particularly impressive. Still, the Mets offense capitalized on their opportunities more successfully than the Phillies did, and the bullpen held down the fort to secure a 6-3 victory.
The bats immediately got off to a nice start, as Amed Rosario led off the game with a single to center field followed by a walk to Pete Alonso. J.D. Davis followed those two with a swinging strikeout, which brought up Wilson Ramos, who entered the game with a 23-game hitting streak. He wasted no time in extending that streak, as he dunked a 2-1 pitch into center field. Rosario was running on the pitch, so he was able to score easily, and the Mets had a quick 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier could not bring either of the two men on base home to score, and the Phillies very quickly went to work on overcoming their early deficit in the bottom of the inning. Jean Segura whacked the second pitch thrown by Matz to right field just out of the reach of a leaping Conforto, and he made it all the way to third on the play. After a swinging strikeout to J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper came to the plate and hit a ball into the shift at second base. He was out at first, but Segura did score from third, and just like that we were tied at one. Matz walked the next batter but then retired Corey Dickerson to end the inning.
Both clubs got runners on in the second inning—the Mets with two two-out singles off the bats of Matz and Rosario, respectively, and the Phillies with a one-out infield single by Cesar Hernandez—but were unable to score. In the top of the third, however, the Amazins struck against Vargas again. Davis led off the inning with a walk, and that was followed by a hot shot to shortstop off the bat of Ramos that Segura couldn’t handle, putting men on first and second with no outs. Conforto came up to the plate, and he ripped a 2-1 pitch down the right field line. Davis scored from second, though the slow-footed Ramos could only make it to third base. Nevertheless, that RBI double put the Mets back in front 2-1. Frazier was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but just like in the first inning, the Mets could not capitalize any further, as Vargas got out of the bases load jam unscathed by retiring Joe Panik (swinging strikeout), Juan Lagares (fielder’s choice ground-out to third with Ramos being thrown out at home), and Matz (fly ball to center).
Matz got two quick outs to start the bottom of the third inning, followed by a bloop single to left-center by Harper. Rhys Hoskins came to the plate, and Harper quickly stole second on the first pitch. It was all for naught, however, as Hoskins struck out looking to end the inning. The Phillies first baseman took issue with the high strike call, and he let the home plate umpire know. Whatever it was he said, it earned him a quick ejection from the ballgame, which forced Logan Morrison into the game to replace him. Despite this temporary flare-up, the next inning of baseball was fairly quiet, as the Mets went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth inning and the Phillies managed just a two-out hit off the bat of Hernandez in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the fifth, the Mets finally managed to put up a crooked number against Vargas, and they drove him out of the game in doing so. Ramos got the rally started with an 0-1 single to left field for his third hit of the game, and Conforto followed that with a walk. Frazier came to the plate with another opportunity to do some damage, and unlike in the first inning he delivered, as he socked a double down the left field line to bring home Ramos. Not to be outdone, Panik immediately followed suit with a double down the line of his own, and this one scored two additional runs. Just like that, Vargas’s day was over, as Blake Parker was brought on to replace the former Met. The Phillies reliever successfully held the score there by striking out Lagares and then getting a double play ball off the bat of Rosario after Matz reached first on a throwing error by Segura, but the Mets had nevertheless increased their lead to 5-1.
After a quiet turn at-bat for both clubs in the bottom of the fifth and the top of the sixth, Matz returned to the mound for his sixth inning of work. Alas, just like Vargas in the previous inning, he would be unable to record a single out before being forced to depart. Harper immediately gave him a rude greeting with an opposite field solo homer field on the first pitch of the frame. Morrison followed that impressive blast with a weak ground ball to second, but Panik—playing in the shift and charging in—was unable to handle it, and the runner reached on the error. Corey Dickerson then hit a single to left to put runners on first and second, and Scott Kingery followed with a single of his own to right field that was just out of the reach of a diving Conforto. Morrison held up on the ball to see if it would be caught, so he was only able to make it to third on the play, but the bases were now loaded with nobody out, and Steven Matz’s day was done.
Luis Avilan came out of the bullpen to try to get out of the jam, and Hernandez greeted him by hitting a liner that seemed destined to go down the left field line. Fortunately, Frazier made a jumping catch to record the first out of the inning and keep the runners where they were. Avilan’s luck did not continue to the next batter, however, as Andrew Knapp pinch hit for Parker and worked a walk to force in a run and make it a 5-3 ballgame. The Phillies still had the bases loaded and seemed primed to put even more runs on the board, but Adam Haseley gave the Mets exactly what they needed: a groundball to second base which they turned into a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning.
Frazier hit a one-out single against new pitcher Ranger Suarez in the top of the seventh, but the Mets otherwise went down quietly. Jeurys Familia then came on for the bottom of the seventh, and he gave up a leadoff double to Jean Segura that only just missed being a solo homer to left-center field. He rebounded by striking out Realmuto swinging, and Callaway then brought in Justin Wilson to face the lefties Harper and Morrison. Wilson did his job effectively, as he got Harper to line out to left field before striking out Morrison swinging to end the inning.
Rajai Davis pinch hit for Wilson to lead-off the eighth inning and reached base on an error by Segura—his second of the day. The top of the Mets order could not take advantage of the mistake, however, as Rosario, Alonso, and J.D. Davis all went down following the miscue. Seth Lugo then came on for the bottom of the eighth, with the plan being for him to handle the final two innings and secure a Mets victory. He struck out Dickerson swinging to start his day, but Kingery hit an 0-2 pitch into center field to bring the tying run to the plate. Lugo was unphased, however, as he got Hernandez to foul out to third base and then struck out pinch hitter Brad Miller to bring the game to the bottom of the ninth and give the Mets a chance to score some insurance runs.
The Mets wasted no time in doing just that, as Ramos led off the inning with an opposite field double to deep right field for his fourth hit of the game. Michael Conforto whacked the very next pitch to left field for his second hit of the game, which moved Ramos over to third and brought up Frazier in yet another key RBI situation. And just like in the fifth inning, the Toddfather came through, as he hit a single to left field to score Ramos and make the score 6-3. The next three batters could not bring home any additional insurance runs, but as luck would have it, Lugo never needed any extra runs to begin with. The Mets’ star reliever came back on for the bottom for the bottom for the bottom of the ninth and quickly struck out Haseley and Segura before getting Realmuto to ground out to third base to end the game and give the Mets a second straight win over their Philadelphia rivals.
With the win and the Cubs loss earlier in the day, the Mets are now four games back in the wild card standings. The Amazins will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 7:00 ET, with Marcus Stroman facing off against Zach Eflin.
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Wilson Ramos, +21.3% WPA; Luis Avilan, +21.1% WPA; Michael Conforto, +17.5% WPA; Todd Frazier, +13.1% WPA; Seth Lugo, +12.3% WPA; Justin Wilson, +10.7% WPA
Big losers: Steven Matz (pitching), -14.7% WPA; Juan Lagares, -13.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +26.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +23.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto RBI double in the third inning, +14.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Andrew Knapp walk with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, -12.4% WPA