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Mets lose pitcher’s duel in extras

Max Scherzer struggled early, but settled down to give the Mets a strong outing. But the offense was not able to pick him up with any run support.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies bested the Mets 2-1 in extra innings to open this weekend series at Citi Field. This contest between the NL East rivals became the pitching duel that was perhaps expected between Max Scherzer and Ranger Suárez. However, it did not begin that way. Scherzer did not look sharp early and the Phillies made him throw 43 pitches through the first two innings. The Phillies got on the board immediately in the first inning thanks to a leadoff double by Bryson Stott, who was driven in by an Alec Bohm single. It looked like it would be a long night for Scherzer, but he settled in after that and ended up giving up just the one run on nine hits through seven innings of work, striking out six Phillies in the process.

The Mets answered in the bottom of the second, tying the game on a leadoff walk by Pete Alonso, followed by a double in the left field corner by Darin Ruf and a sacrifice fly by Mark Canha. After that, the game went temporarily off the rails for the Mets when Luis Guillorme unexpectedly pinch hit for Eduardo Escobar and when the Mets took the field in the top of the third, Jeff McNeil was suddenly out of the game as well, forcing Mark Canha to play third base with Tyler Naquin coming in the game in the outfield. After some initial confusion, it was later revealed that Eduardo Escobar exited the game with left side tightness and Jeff McNeil was forced to get treatment for a lacerated finger he suffered on an awkward slide into Rhys Hoskins on a groundout.

Meanwhile, the Mets and Phillies stayed locked in a 1-1 tie into the late innings. Adam Ottavino and José Alvarado traded scoreless frames in the eighth inning with each of the starters lasting seven innings apiece. Edwin Díaz was dominant again in the top of the ninth, striking out two of the three batters he faced and setting the Phillies down 1-2-3.

The Mets had a golden opportunity to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth off Seranthony Domínguez when Starling Marte led off the inning with a ringing double to right field that fell just short of leaving the yard. Francisco Lindor then gave one a ride to center field as well, but it was caught on the warning track and Marte tagged up and advanced to third. The Phillies then correctly walked Pete Alonso intentionally and Daniel Vogelbach pinch hitting for Darin Ruf flew out to shallow right. It was not a deep enough fly ball for even the speedy Marte to score, but the Mets decided to test Matt Vierling’s arm and Vierling gunned down Marte at the plate to send the game to extras. After Keith Hernandez criticized the Phillies’ poor defense, they ended up putting on a defensive clinic in this game.

Mychal Givens was tasked with the top of the tenth for the Mets and did his job, although the free runner did cross the plate to give the Phillies the lead. To lead off the inning with Bryson Stott at second base, Rhys Hoskins hit a dribbler in front of the mound on which Givens made an excellent sliding grab to pounce on and throw Hoskins out at first base. Stott advanced to third on the play, however. Alec Bohm then hit a fly ball to medium right field and just like the Mets did in the ninth, the Phillies took their chances on a tossup shot to score. Starling Marte’s throw beat Stott to the plate, but Tomás Nido was unable to glove it off the hop and Stott crossed home plate safely with the go ahead run. Givens then struck out J.T. Realmuto to hold the Phillies to just the one run and give the Mets a chance in the bottom of the tenth.

New acquisition David Robertson came in to save the game for the Phillies with Daniel Vogelbach as the free runner at second base. Just like the previous inning, the Mets started with a deep fly ball—this one off the bat of Mark Canha—but this one did not have enough juice to go out either, but it did have enough juice to allow Vogelbach to tag up and reach third safely. However, Tyler Naquin then struck out looking on a pitch that was definitely a ball, but an outside pitch the home plate umpire had been calling a strike all night for both sides. Luis Guillorme then grounded out to first to end the game and the Mets’ hopes at starting the series with an exciting win.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Max Scherzer, +29.6% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tyler Naquin, -30.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: +43.7% WPA
Mets hitters: -93.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Starling Marte’s leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth, +17.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Alec Bohm’s sacrifice fly to plate the go-ahead run in the top of the tenth, -11.3% WPA