In this almost-everybody-has-a-shot season, the Mets’ chances of winning the NL East are virtually dead. Another avenue to the postseason also could be almost closed by the time Monday’s Labor Day cookouts are concluding.
With second-place teams assured a playoff berth, the Mets can still go that route, but unless they show something against the sizzling Phillies the next few days, they probably won’t. Then all focus would turn to the last portal of entry, the wild card.
The Mets endured lineup, bullpen and defensive letdowns Friday night in losing 5-3 to the Phillies at Citi Field to snap a two-game winning streak. The Phillies, who won for the 10th time in 11 games, extended their lead over the Mets for second place to 4 ½ lengths. The surprising Marlins sit between the two teams.
Jake Arrieta’s disastrous season took a turn upward as he limited the Mets to two runs on seven hits over seven innings. The former National League Cy Young award winner entered with a 6.49 ERA, but his only blip on this night was allowing a two-run homer to Michael Conforto.
Jared Hughes surrendered the go-ahead run in the seventh on Roman Quinn’s RBI ground ball single that deflected off Andres Gimenez’s glove. Phil Gosselin’s two-out double to left started the rally. The Phillies added two runs in the eighth against Hughes. The first scored when first baseman Dominic Smith mishandled J.D. Davis’ low throw on Jean Segura’s grounder. After Hughes was removed, Brad Brach clipped Adam Haseley with a pitch with the bases loaded. That run came as the result of a challenge by Phillies manager Joe Giradri after the pitch was originally called a ball.
Rick Porcello provided the Mets with a solid start, throwing 100 pitches over six innings in which he surrendered two earned runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. It was the right-hander’s best performance since holding the Nationals to one run over seven innings in his last win, on Aug. 5.
Conforto launched a two-run homer in the fifth that tied it 2-2. It was the second blast in three games for Conforto, who drove in five runs in the Mets’ victory in Baltimore on Wednesday. Gimenez singled leading off the inning before Conforto golfed an Arietta sinker into the left-field seats for his seventh homer of the season.
Porcello fell into a 2-0 hole in the second after Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins delivered consecutive singles leading off the inning. Didi Gregorius followed with an RBI fielder’s choice, with Hoskins thrown out at second base on a sharply hit ball to Conforto in right.
Jay Bruce’s RBI single in the second gave the Phillies their initial run. Segura had walked with one out in the inning and stole second to set up the run. Bruce has twice played for the Mets — he departed the last time as part of the deal with the Mariners for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.