Game recap: Phillies fall to Mets in chaotic second game of London series

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos, left, breaks his bat while hitting a dribbler in front of New York Mets catcher Luis Torrens during the ninth inning in a London Series baseball game at The London Stadium, in London, Sunday, June 9, 2024. Torrens picked up the ball and turned a double play to end the game. The Mets won 6-5. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

On a slightly colder day down at the London Stadium, the Phillies fell to a bitter 6-5 defeat in a loss that split the series against the New York Mets.

A hot start for the Phillies

After Rob McElhenney was finally able to play with Chase Utley by throwing the first pitch (in a ceremonial double play with the help of Bryce Harper), fans were amped up and the energy was contagious.

The game started off with plenty of action for fans to feast their eyes on too. Philadelphia loaded the bases in the first, but Alec Bohm hit into a double play. In fact, the Phillies somehow found themselves the victims of two double plays through as many innings. Perhaps that ‘first pitch’ was an omen…

Taijuan Walker takes a step forward

A quiet few innings followed, with Taijuan Walker doing a really solid job at the Mound, allowing 0 runs and only 2 hits on the day. By the time he exited the game, the Phils were back in familiar territory – leading from the front after another rampant 4th inning that followed in the footsteps of yesterday’s.

4 hits in the 4th gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead. Edumundo Sosa doubled to bring home Nick Castellanos, while Whit Merrifield’s single helped push the lead to a comfortable one.

The rollercoaster begins

The trouble started when Walker left the game. Prior to his departure, it was clear fatigue was setting in and he left some damage on the table to be undone. Unfortunately, Gregory Soto’s short stint on the field only compounded that damage. He gave up 3 runs within 6 pitches, with Nimmo and Martinez delivering the goods to tie things up.

Matt Strahm then replaced Soto and was able to stop the bleeding, ending the frame by winning a 6-pitch battle with Tyrone Taylor, and leaving 2 runners stranded on base.

The Phillies finally received an offensive jolt in the 7th inning as David Dahl lifted both spirits and a ball, scoring a much-needed home run to regain the lead for Philadelphia. It was Dahl’s second home run of the year, with the first coming last week against the Brewers.

Phillies Matt Strahm
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Matt Strahm works against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Toronto. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press via AP)

That spark certainly unsettled the Mets. Bryce Harper was later walked and a huge ‘let’s go Phillies!’ Chant started to echo its way around Stratford. With runners on first and second, Nick Castellanos was unable to put the cherry on the cake, and it proved costly.

With runners on first and third, a ball skipped out of Alec Bohm’s hands, tying things up in the dying embers of the game. The Mets had runners on first and second even after this along with 3 outs to play with. With bases loaded, Francisco Lindor stepped up to the plate, and things started to look very troubling for the Phillies. Alvarado was able to send the 4x All-Star back to the dugout and give his team a lifeline.

The Mets ended with a 3-run 9th inning to claim a 6-4 lead and leave the Phillies with a chance to prove themselves. This is arguably the best offense in baseball and now they had to deliver.

Christian Pache kicked off proceedings with a single to right field, and while Kyle Schwarber was unable to build on that, the Mets walked Realmuto, giving the Phillies a lifeline. The team could see the finish line. Another run was scored after Alec Bohm was hit by a pitch, and Nick Castellanos had the chance to send London fans home jubilated.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cristian Pache reacts after hitting a RBI single off Colorado Rockies pitcher Jacob Bird during the 10th inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

But with the game on the line, Nick Castellanos managed to split his bat on impact, ending the game in agonising fashion on a night when Philadelphia just could never quite get it all together despite all of the ingredients being there.

Overall, the Phillies strut some of their best stuff on Saturday, and didn’t look bad by any measure on Sunday. A few bumps here and a few missed pitches there were ultimately the difference, and that’s something that Rob Thomson is aware of, who told reporters postgame just how quickly his team is able to turn the page and move on.

Topper didn’t seem to phased by the defeat. He praised Taijuan Walker’s day at the office and his teams’ offensive breakouts in the early innings of the game.

The Phillies did enough to win that game comfortably, and a few uncommon errors and misfires ultimately decided the outcome.

The Phillies will now travel to Boston to face the Red Sox for a three-game series starting on Tuesday.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth