Phillies victorious in series against the Mets as wildcard race heats up

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrates after his grand slam off of Chicago Cubs’ Jameson Taillon (not shown) with Nick Castellanos, left, Bryson Stott (5) and Bryce Harper (3) during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Philadelphia Phillies managed to wrangle being the series winner in what proved to be a tough National League East divisional weekend at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia (40-37) took two out of three from the New York Mets and handed New York their 15th loss in the past 20 games.

The Phillies have won 15 of their last 20.

Just a few weeks ago the Phillies were below .500 and now they’re sitting 3.5 games back of the final NL Wild Card spot. Taking two out of three games against your inter-divisional rivals is a solid way to close out a series at home.

The Phillies will see the Mets in London in 2024 but now, they’re 7-3 in their last ten games and hope to keep this momentum as they head on the road.

Game 1: Phillies win 5-1

Right-hander Taijuan Walker had himself six strong innings. It was a homecoming of sorts for him: Walker pitched for the Mets the last two seasons before signing a four-year, $72 million deal with Philadelphia in the 2022 offseason. He gave up one run and three hits over the six innings to improve to 8-3.

Philadelphia got started early in the first inning, thanks to the Mets. Brandon Nimmo dropped Kyle Schwarber’s line ball to short center field. Schwarber headed to second on Kodai Senga’s wild pitch and scored on Harper’s one-out single to left field. J.T. Realmuto made it bases loaded before Bryson Stott’s sacrifice fly to center scored Trea Turner. Nimmo’s error was the first since 2021.

He redeemed himself for Philadelphia in the third thanks to a solo homer from Nimmo. A double by Pete Alonso to lead off the second inning clanked off the metal fence over the wall and that was the extent of the Mets’ production.

The sixth inning was the most disastrous for the Mets. Facing a downpour, Stott hit a single and then stole second base. Alec Bohm hit a grounder that Francisco Lindor used to keep Stott from scoring. Philly had runners at the corners though and Stott made it home off another Mets error. This time it was Lindor who called off Tommy Pham to let him make the catch but then bailed. Later in the inning, Turner singled, driving in two runs and extending the Phillies’ lead to 5-1.

Closer Craig Kimbrel helped the Phillies finish this one to earn the first win of the series.

Game 2: Phillies lost 2-4

It was an off night for Philadelphia in the second game of the three-game series. This time the pitching matchup was Max Scherzer versus Cristopher Sánchez with Scherzer arguably putting up the better performance. He blew through the first three innings and only allowed one base runner. Yet Nick Castellanos put him through his paces with a solo homer in the fourth inning to dead centerfield. Brandon Marsh had a leadoff double in the fifth inning.

Phillies Brandon marsh
Philadelphia Phillies’ Brandon Marsh, top, beats the throw to Miami Marlins’ Luis Arraez, bottom, for a double during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Nimmo, Lindor, and Sterling Marte all served up singles that loaded bases. Pete Alonso hit a fielder’s choice to Stott but brought home a run. Pham also drilled an insurance run between the first and second baseman to make it a 4-2 game.

Sánchez found himself 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA after his five-inning performance on Saturday. He gave up three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

Game 3: Phillies win 7-6

The Mets made an Amazin’ Mess on their lead Sunday afternoon in the rubber match game. The matchup of Zack Wheeler and Carlos Carrasco provided all the entertainment for the fans at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia came out to a one-run lead thanks to Turner’s homer off Carrasco. Yet then he retired the next four batters before allowing Bohm to double in the bottom of the second. The Mets took a 6-3 lead until the eighth inning and that is where the story really begins.

Mets starting pitcher Josh Walker allowed three runners on base before being pulled for Jeff Brigham. The Mets simply couldn’t get out of their own way in a fundamental breakdown in the eighth and Brigham ushered it in. Bohm hit a double in the director of Brett Baty and he…hesitated. Jeff McNeil was pulled off the bag and it became a 6-4 game.

Brandon Marsh walked with the bases loaded and made it a 6-5 ballgame in front of 42,901 fans at CBP. Brigham then plunked Schwarber on his left knee and the Mets saw it become a tied 6-6 ballgame. Brigham then buzzed Turner with consecutive pitches. He drilled him again and the shortstop turned out as the improbable winning run.

Philadelphia called it a comeback with the 7-6 win to finish their homestand before a two-game road trip to face the Chicago Cubs.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke