The Mets sent out young Zack Wheeler to face the Phillies, who is considered a main piece of the team's future rotation. The Phillies sent out David Buchanan, an emergency replacement making his second Major League start. Would he have the backing of the offense, or would they leave him to struggle and gasp in isolation?
The Mets scored in the second inning with the least sexy scoring opportunity in sports, the RBI double play. The grounder, shat out by Travis d'Arnaud, followed three consecutive singles by Lucas Duda, Chris Young, and Wilmer Flores to start the inning. Buchanan escaped with no further foolishness.
On the other side, Zack Wheeler allowed a single to Ben Revere, then struck out every Phillie he faced until five batters later, when Carlos Ruiz doubled and brought Wheeler's insane fantasies about taking over the world by channeling the power of his K's into some kind of weaponized evil crashing back to reality.
Cesar Hernandez continued the punishment for Wheeler's horrible dark thoughts by bashing a line a drive off of his body and reaching safely when Wheeler's ass was in too much pain to find the ball. With runners on first and third, Wheeler, clearly succumbing to the voices in his head, hurled a pitch at the back stop. That brought up David Buchanan, who struck out on three pitches and left the door open for the darkness inside Wheeler to resurface later on.
Buchanan allowed Curtis Granderson a free pass to start the fourth, who was so hysterical about reaching base that he almost didn't realize he was allowed to score on Chris Young's home run one batter later, which made it 3-0.
Wheeler's madness only grew as he K'd Phillie after Phillie. Of his first ten outs, eight were strikeouts, which he threw amid bouts of increasingly demented laughter. Things did not improve when Wheeler led off the fifth with a single, his eyes now pulsating with a haunting, fiery shade of red. He snarled and snapped his ferocious mandibles as the first base coach went to give him congratulatory pat on the back, but recoiled, tears in his eyes.
By the time Cesar Hernandez committed a fielding error and a mental error to load the bases with one out, reports came in that global atrocities could be witnessed in the reflections of Wheeler's glassy pupils. Buchanan walked in Wheeler to score the Mets' fourth run. As Wheeler stomped the plate, the skies flashed red and the taste of blood lingered in the air.
The Phillies switched from striking out to grounding out, which proved just as ineffective and did nothing to quell the malevolence spawning within Wheeler. Fortunately, in the bottom of the seventh, with a pair of leathery wings having torn through the back of Wheeler's uniform and a jagged set of horns bursting out of his cap, Marlon Byrd summoned the focus to make solid contact.
As the ball sailed over the right field wall, Wheeler's powers left him. He body grew shriveled and pale, and Terry Collins went out to the mound to retrieve the husk of his starting pitcher. Wheeler would go 6.1 innings, giving up four hits, one run, no walks, and nine strikeouts.
The Mets bullpen entered the game and got the next two outs on four pitches.
David Buchanan had departed in the middle of the seventh as well, going 6.2 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs, three of them earned. Onward came the Phillies bullpen.
Mario Hollands threw 1.1 and gave up naught but a walk; Justin De Fratus allowed a hit in his third of an inning. Antonio Bastardo entered the game and started walking people, but was saved by a double play. This set the stage for the Phillies second magical comeback in two nights, this time against Jenrry Mejia, a reliever who hadn't allowed an earned run in eight appearances.
In the Mets clubhouse, a dazed Zack Wheeler came to in the showers, trying desperately to remember the last few hours of his life and figure out what happened to his uniform.
Jimmy Rollins notched the Phillies' 13th strikeout of the evening to lead off, and you could just feel that crazy ninth inning rally energy building. Chase Utley built it a little higher with the 14th K, watching the same below-the-knees called strike go by that had haunted the lineup all night. That left things up to Ryan Howard, whose 15th Phillies strikeout of the evening sent a rush of pure indifference to a quickly exiting crowd.
The Mets have won six straight times in Philadelphia.