This was the best possible position for the Mets to be in before they headed to Miami to face the Marlins over the weekend.Winners of four straight, they had their second chance this season to sweep the Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park. However, with Cliff Lee on the mound and Vinny Rottino, Scott Hairston, Rob Johnson, and Justin Turner filling out the lineup, the Amazins hardly had their A-squad on the field. Like many times this year though, that just didn’t matter.
This game featured a lot of offense, with the Mets and Phillies combining for 16 runs and 27 hits on the night, but most of the excitement came in the later innings. Dillon Gee took the mound for New York, primed to go deep in the game; that’s what he didn’t
do. What he did do, however, was minimize the damage when he could. He gave up 10 hits and 4 runs in 5.2 innings pitched, but struck out 4 hitters and didn’t walk a soul, which is what caught my eye the most. Be it as it may, it took him 103 pitches to navigate just under 6 innings, but he still didn’t give in enough to allow any free passes.
Philadelphia opened the scoring in the second, but the Mets answered right back with an RBI double from Mr. Reliable, Daniel Murphy, in the top of the third, tying the score at one a piece. Philly re-took the lead in the top of the 4th, but David Wright evened things back up in the 6th with an RBI single of his own. In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies put together two more runs to once again take the lead, but not for long.
New York really started to put rallies together once the 7th inning hit, which seems to be the usual these days. Kyle Kendrick came on to replace Cliff Lee after 6 solid innings in his return from the DL, but he imploded, and it started with a leadoff walk to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Behind him, Justin Turner doubled, plating Captain Kirk, and the comeback train was just gaining momentum. Ike Davis showed he’s still alive and doubled, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Rob Johnson walked, then Kendrick plunked Duda with a pitch to tie the game, then Andres Torres grounded into a force out, giving New York the lead.
Manny Acosta came on in relief of Tim Brydak and retired the side in order in the 7th, allowing the rally to pick up where they left off in the 8th. David Wright got things started with a lead-off double, then Scott Hairston drove him in with a double of his own, followed by Hunter Pence misplaying a Justin Turner fly ball. Then, Ike Davis continued to show his existence by blasting a three-run homer to right center, breaking the game open and giving the Mets a 9-4.
Philly tried to chip away with a run in each the 8th and 9th, but Torres added his first homer of the year for good measure, sealing the three-game sweep in the City of Brotherly Love, and the fans weren’t showing any love for the home team tonight. The loss puts the Phillies further in the basement, five games out of first with a 14-18 record. For the Mets, it’s their longest win streak of the year (five games) and with losses by both Atlanta and Washington, their 18-13 record has them only 0.5 games out of first. What’s even more gratifying is that the Mets are five games over .500 for the first time since July 2010. Progress.
The offense was once again rolling last night, with the top four hitters (Torres, Murphy, Wright Hairston) all collecting two hits each and all drove in one run, with the exception of Torres, who drove in two. Ike Davis gave the bottom part of the lineup a power surge with his two-hit, three-RBI evening. I would say he’s back, but let’s see him get on a hot streak before we proclaim anything. Don’t want to jinx it afterall. The bullpen worked 3.1 innings in the finale and did give up two runs, but no Met pitcher surrendered a walk last night. If the staff can minimize that, then they’ll be in good shape. Obviously, easier said than done for them.
Probable Pitchers Friday:
New York gets to enjoy this sweep all day tomorrow as they have a day off tomorrow before they play their first game in the Marlins’ new home in Downtown Miami. Johan Santana will look to continue the hot streak that he helped start against Arizona against Mark Buerhle. First pitch is set for 7:10pm.