Phils can't hold on to early lead, fall to Mets in extras
By Anthony DiComo and Todd Zolecki
PHILADELPHIA -- In protecting an NL East lead that has stretched to 6 1/2 games, their largest cushion in eight years, the new-look Mets are setting offensive records on a near-nightly basis. But it's one of the longest-tenured Mets, Daniel Murphy, who is playing a significant role in the transformation.
Murphy hit a go-ahead two-run double Thursday and made a circus play on defense, leading the Mets to a 9-5, 13-inning win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets swept the four-game series in Philadelphia, set a franchise record with 73 runs in a seven-game span and have won seven in a row overall, grabbing their third winning streak of at least seven games this season.
"It's not just getting the wins," third baseman David Wright said. "Obviously, that's the most important thing. But the way that we're winning, we're never out of a game."
The two teams traded offensive bursts early, with the Phillies jumping out to a 5-0 lead off Jon Niese in the third inning and the Mets roaring back to tie things in the fifth. Both Niese and Phillies starter Aaron Harang lasted six innings, allowing five runs.
No one scored again until the 13th, when Murphy doubled home Carlos Torres -- a relief pitcher who beat out an infield single to open the inning off Hector Neris -- and Curtis Granderson. That rally came three innings after Murphy closed the 10th with a highlight-reel play on a comebacker that deflected off Torres, who contributed 2 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the win.
"The entire time, we've been battling no matter what," Torres said of the Mets' 8-1 road trip. "Today, these guys showed they're true pros. They just kept battling every at-bat. They played their positions hard. And the outcome is we won more games on this road trip than we lost."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Saving the best for last: After Murphy gave them the lead with his double in the 13th, the Mets began piling on. Neris committed two errors on one play to allow Murphy to score, and Michael Conforto added an RBI single to increase the Mets' margin to four.
"If you're going to win, you don't ride one horse," manager Terry Collins said. "You've got to spread out the wealth, and we've done it right now. Everybody on the team wants to contribute, and everybody has."
Phillies starters struggle: Harang allowed five runs in six innings, giving him a 7.71 ERA (58 earned runs in 67 2/3 innings) in 12 starts since the end of May. He was just the latest Phillies starter to get hit hard by the Mets. Phillies starters posted a 7.29 ERA (17 earned runs in 21 innings) in the four-game series. They also allowed 27 hits and eight home runs. The Phillies have lost 12 of 13 games to the Mets this season, including the last nine in a row. More >
"That tells the story," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said of Phillies pitchers posting a 7.88 ERA in the series. "We know what our issues are and we have to improve."
Comeback kids: For the second time in the series, the Mets came back from a five-run deficit. It didn't take them all that long, either. Travis d'Arnaud sliced two runs off Philadelphia's lead with his homer in the fourth inning, before Yoenis Cespedes tacked on another two-run homer in the fifth and Kelly Johnson tied things with a solo shot. The three blasts set a club record for home runs in any month with 43. More >
Phillies bats go silent: The Phillies scored five runs and had five hits through the game's first four innings, but managed just three hits the rest of the way.
KICK SAVE AND A BEAUTY
Murphy contributed easily the most impressive defensive play of the game, if not the most graceful, in the 10th. Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur hit a comebacker to the mound, where it ricocheted off Torres' foot and toward first base. There, Murphy grabbed it and, as he fell to the ground, flipped to Torres to beat Francoeur by a fraction of a second. More >
"It was pretty impressive," Francoeur said. "I went and looked at it in the film room. I had to. That's baseball. Hats off. Murphy, to make that play ... but more impressive the pitcher having the whereabouts to cover first. It was a heck of a play."
"It stinks because of all the Mets fans coming in here and stuff. It stinks to get swept. It hurts a little bit. And the length of the games. Tonight going 4 [hours] ... whatever. Long enough, put it that way." -- Francoeur
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets' 73 runs in their last seven games is a franchise record over any seven-game span. Compare it to a 27-game stretch from June 21 through July 24 in which they scored only 71 runs. The next day, Johnson and Juan Uribe arrived via trade, the Mets plated 15 and have led the National League in runs scored, homers, doubles and slugging percentage since that time.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With two outs in the eighth inning, Granderson hustled around the basepaths to turn a single into a double. Second-base umpire Dan Bellino initially ruled him safe, and a two-minute review confirmed it.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets:Matt Harvey will return from an 11-day hiatus when he opens a three-game series against the Red Sox. The first-place Mets expect big crowds at Citi Field all weekend, beginning with Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET game.
Phillies: The Phillies open a three-game series Friday night at 7:05 ET against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park. Rookie right-hander Aaron Nola (4-1, 3.59 ERA) gets the call. He allowed three runs in six innings against the Padres at Petco Park on Aug. 7.