Advertisement

Michael Conforto's blast lifts New York Mets over Philadelphia Phillies

By
Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
New York Mets' Michael Conforto celebrates after scoring a run in the 1st inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field in New York City on April 30, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Mets' Michael Conforto celebrates after scoring a run in the 1st inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field in New York City on April 30, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- The first two contests of the New York Mets' four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies lasted 20 innings over a span of 8 hours, 3 minutes and required 35 players.

But the most important number for the Mets was two.

Advertisement

The Mets pieced together a second straight vital win Friday night, when Michael Conforto's three-run homer capped a six-run fifth inning and Hansel Robles -- the sixth and final New York pitcher -- earned his first career save by throwing 2 2/3 hitless innings to close out a 10-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

"It's September baseball," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You use everybody -- every means necessary you can -- to try to win a game."

RELATED Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners rip Minnesota Twins

The Mets (82-72) took sole possession of first place in the National League wild-card standings by one game over San Francisco, which lost 7-2 in San Diego later Friday. St. Louis fell 1 1/2 games behind New York following a 5-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs earlier Friday.

The Mets were 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card Aug. 19 -- five weeks ago Friday -- but are 22-10 since, the best record in baseball. They snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday, when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 11th inning of a 9-8 victory in which New York used 10 pitchers.

Advertisement

The bullpen will likely shoulder a large burden again Saturday, when Sean Gilmartin takes the rotation spot of ace Noah Syndergaard (strep throat) and makes his first start of the season.

RELATED Texas Rangers clinch AL West with win in Oakland

"We've been through a lot over the course of the season," Conforto said. "So many things have happened. There's a lot of fight in this team. (Just) keep playing until we get to where we want to be and that's in the playoffs."

The win Friday symbolized the unlikely and piecemeal nature of the Mets' playoff push. Of their first five pitchers, four -- including starter Gabriel Ynoa -- began the season with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Ynoa allowed two runs on five hits -- including RBI singles by Cesar Hernandez and Roman Quinn -- and one walk over two innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter with two outs, a runner on second and the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Ty Kelly drew a walk in place of Ynoa before Jose Reyes grounded out.

RELATED Mark Trumbo's homer in 12th pushes Baltimore Orioles past Arizona Diamondbacks

"He had five or six baserunners in the first couple innings, I just said 'I don't like the way this is looking.'" Collins said. "I thought we'd try to score early."

Advertisement

Logan Verrett relieved Ynoa and gave up a homer to the first batter he faced, Maikel Franco, as the Phillies extended their lead to 3-1. But Philadelphia left the bases loaded against Verrett in the fourth and winning pitcher Josh Smoker (3-0) threw a perfect fifth -- one of only two 1-2-3 frames by Mets pitchers -- before New York busted out in the bottom of the inning.

Curtis Granderson, the only member of the Mets' opening day lineup to remain on the roster all season, and Kelly Johnson, a midseason acquisition from the Atlanta Braves, each had RBI singles. Yoenis Cespedes raced home with the go-ahead run when Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn overran Johnson's hit.

Conforto, who opened the season as the everyday left fielder but took two trips to Las Vegas, followed with his three-run homer. It was only the second homer since June 16 for Conforto, who hit .365 in April but is batting .174 since.

"What we saw tonight is what we're used to seeing," Collins said of Conforto.

The Phillies pulled to within 7-5 in the sixth, when Darin Ruf hit a pinch-hit two-run homer off Smoker. Philadelphia loaded the bases with one out in the seventh against Erik Goeddel, but Robles induced Tommy Joseph to hit into a double play.

Advertisement

"We had the bases loaded twice, just couldn't cash in," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "That's pretty much the game."

The Mets received three insurance runs from unlikely contributors in the seventh, when Cespedes raced home after Cameron Rupp misplayed a bunt by Juan Lagares before Eric Campbell (single) and T.J. Rivera (sacrifice fly) delivered pinch-hit RBIs. Lagares missed most of the last four months because of a thumb injury while Campbell and Rivera spent the majority of the season in Triple A.

"I know one thing," Collins said with a grin. "You come to the park these days, you know you're going to get in a game."

Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (12-10) took the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out one over 4 1/3 innings. He fell to 2-4 with an 8.21 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.

"They threw a bullpen game against us. so that's tough to take," Mackanin said. "But 'Helly' just wasn't at his best."

NOTES: Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera fouled a ball off his right knee in the fifth inning but remained in the game until the eighth inning. Manager Terry Collins said Cabrera might sit out Saturday's game. ... Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said struggling RHP Jeanmar Gomez (16.20 ERA in September) remains his closer but that he'll give Gomez a mental health break by using someone else in the role the next time a save opportunity arises.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines