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PHILADELPHIA — First place was fun for the Mets while it lasted, but now there’s a new team to chase in the NL East. The Mets’ 90-day stay in the division’s penthouse concluded Friday night...
PHILADELPHIA — First place was fun for the Mets while it lasted, but now there’s a new team to chase in the NL East.
The Mets’ 90-day stay in the division’s penthouse concluded Friday night with bats silent in an all-too-familiar scene for a team challenged to score runs. Now they have to catch the Phillies, following a fifth loss in six games, this one 4-2 at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies, with their sixth straight victory, moved a half-game ahead of the Mets in the NL East. The Phillies last sat alone in first place on May 7, before the Mets tied them the following day.
On Friday, the Mets went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position against Kyle Gibson and the Phillies’ bullpen. Gibson, a right-hander acquired at the trade deadline from Texas, allowed one run on four hits and four walks over six innings.
Bryce Harper all but sealed it for the Phillies with a monstrous two-run homer to center off Edwin Diaz in the eighth that buried the Mets. Diaz, who returned after two days away from the team on the paternity list, hadn’t pitched since last Saturday. Harper was serenaded by chants of “M-V-P” by the crowd as he rounded the bases.
Marcus Stroman threw 91 pitches over five innings in which he allowed two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. It was an improvement over his Sunday start against the Reds, which included four earned runs allowed over 5 ²/₃ innings.
Gibson’s first major league RBI, on a single in the fifth, put the Mets in a 2-1 hole. Brad Miller led off the inning with a towering fly ball to right field, which Michael Conforto couldn’t reach, and it caromed off the fence for a triple. The Phillies scored their first run in the second inning, on Didi Gregorius’ 10th homer of the season.
After leaving the bases loaded three times a day earlier, the Mets continued the trend in the fourth inning. Tomas Nido walked to load the bases with nobody out, after Conforto singled and Jonathan Villar reached on Brad Miller’s error, but that was all for the Mets in the inning. Gibson struck out Stroman and got Brandon Nimmo to hit into an inning-ending double play. Nido also hit into an inning-ending double play in the sixth, after Conforto had reached on a leadoff walk.
Dominic Smith delivered a two-out RBI single in the third that tied it 1-1. It continued a recent surge for Smith, who extended his hitting streak to nine games (during which he was hitting .355 entering play).
Nimmo and Pete Alonso each walked in the inning before Smith stroked a single to right field for his 49th RBI of the season.
Villar homered in the ninth off Ian Kennedy for the Mets’ second run.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Puma