The day after an Alec Bohm walk-off single in the tenth inning dropped the Phillies’ magic number to three, this afternoon the Fightins’ took the third game in a row from the Mets to drop the magic number to two.
The Mets struck first. With no outs, Zack Wheeler walked DJ Stewart and gave up a single to Ronny Mauricio. Brett Baty grounded to Trea Turner. Instead of putting his body in front of the ball, Turner attempted to play the ball backhanded. The ball got past him, allowing Stewart to score. Kyle Schwarber trotted in to field the ball and soft tossed it to Turner, who hung on to it a second too long before he realized Mauricio, who was fully aware that the Phillies defense was not paying attention, darted for home. The throw was too late and the Mets went up 2-0 on an error that should have been a double play.
The Phillies wasted no time answering back. Bryce Harper drove a mammoth 451-foot homer into the first row of the second deck. J.T. Realmuto reached base on a fielding error. Nick Castellanos roped a ball into left field that fell in front of a sliding Jeff McNiel. The ball rolled around the yard long enough for J.T. to race from first to home and for Castellanos to reach third base standing up. The second inning ended with the game tied 2-2.
The Phillies defense redeemed itself in the third inning when Edmundo Sosa, covering third base today, fielded a hard hit ball down the line from Pete Alonso and turned the double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Alec Bohm drove a high fastball into the left field stands for his 19th home run of the season to give the Phillies the lead, 3-2.
Alec Bohm tiebreaker! pic.twitter.com/LfzzcGVdyX— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 23, 2023
After Stewart reached base when Zack Wheeler winged him with a sweeper to start the fourth inning, Stewart turned around and helped the Phillies end the inning when he attempted to steal second with two outs. J.T. Realmuto popped up and fired a bullet to Turner, who managed to hang onto the ball and tag him out even as Stewart, a Met of considerable girth, barreled into him.
The Phillies widened the lead in the fifth inning. Rojas reached first on a single. The wind robbed Schwarber of a home run, instead bouncing off the wall in left center, enough for a double and moving Rojas to third. Turner, who has struggled a bit at the plate as of late, hit the ball directly to Lindor at shortstop. Lindor threw to home in what looked like an easy play, but between Rojas’s speed and Mets’ catcher Omar Narvaez’s inability to catch the poorly thrown ball from Lindor, Rojas safely slid across the plate and put another run on the board. The Fightins’ weren’t done yet. Harper hit a hard ground ball to first. Pete Alonso dove for it but the ball deflected off his glove and bounced into right field. Schwarber and Turner scored to provide the Phillies a 6-2 cushion.
What’s harder to believe?— Joe Edinger (@Joe_Edinger) September 23, 2023
Bryce Harper getting to 20 HRs despite missing two months and having 5 on August 1st or Alec Bohm being one HR away from 20 in the season?
They would need it.
In the seventh, the Mets mounted a comeback starting with back to back singles from Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. Brandon Nimmo tripled to clear the bases. Francisco Lindor hit a sac fly to score Nimmo. The inning ended with the Mets nipping at the Phillies’ heels, 6-5.
The Phillies responded in the bottom of the inning. After Alec Bohm doubled, then reached third on a groundout by Harper, Realmuto singled to plate another run. Phillies led 7-5.
Gregory Soto took the mound in the eighth inning and did that thing the bullpen does lately. He walked Stewart on four pitches, then allowed a single to Baty. But with two strikeouts and pop out, Soto did what needed to be done and and preserved the lead.
Jose Alvarado came in for the save and put the Mets down in order to close the game, the final out coming off a flyball left field caught by Schwarber at the wall.
José Alvarado has struck out 23 batters in his last 14.1 innings of work. He hasn’t thrown an inning without striking someone out since July 2.— Nathan Ackerman (@NathanAckerman_) September 23, 2023
Zack Wheeler pitched 7.0 innings and gave up five runs, three of them earned, and punched out six. The Phillies tagged José Quintana for six runs (five earned) over 6.0 innings - the most runs he’s given up this season.
The series is scheduled to wrap up tomorrow at 1:05 PM, with José Butto (1-2, 3.09 ERA) slated to take the mound for the Mets against Christopher Sánchez (2-5, 3.55 ERA). Tropical storm Ophelia might intervene to give the guys an unscheduled day off.