Philadelphia Phillies honor 1B Ryan Howard, rally to beat New York Mets

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Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

PHILADELPHIA -- It was the end of an era in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Phillies finished the season with a come-from-behind 5-2 win over the New York Mets. The win came on the same day they said goodbye to long-time 1B Ryan Howard, who is the last member of the 2008 World Series champions still with the club.


In what probably was his last game with the Phillies, Howard went 0-for-4. Despite his lack of production, he received curtain calls after popping up in his final at-bat, and after he was removed just before the top of the ninth.

The team also honored Howard with a pregame ceremony to cap off his time in a Philadelphia uniform.

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"It was roller coaster, man," Howard said of the ceremony. "It was crazy. I really didn't know what to expect, what the organization was going to do, how I was going to feel. But getting out there, seeing the people, seeing the different videos, everything just came in and hit me all at once."

While the 36,935 fans in attendance were primarily focused on Howard, the game ultimately came down to a Phillies' rally aided by a rare double error.


The Mets led the game 2-1 going into the seventh inning before the Phillies rallied. With two men on and none out, Mets' first baseman Lucas Duda misplayed the ball at first base before throwing the ball past Erik Goeddel, who was covering the bag.

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Duda was charged with two errors on the play, which allowed Andres Blanco to score the tying run and set up Cesar Hernandez's go-ahead RBI single.

A sacrifice fly by Jimmy Paredes closed a three-run inning that ultimately made the difference. Aaron Altherr added an RBI single in the eighth.

Colton Murray (1-1) picked up his first major league win despite allowing a go-ahead double to Kevin Plawecki in the seventh. Hector Neris earned his second save with a scoreless ninth.

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Goeddel (2-2) suffered the loss allowing three runs -- two earned -- without recording an out.

The Mets ended the regular season winning four of their last five games. They had already clinched home field advantage for Wednesday's National League wild-card game, so manager Terry Collins rested many key players.

"I thought it was huge to win yesterday," Collins said. "That way, we'll have fresh pitching and fresh players [for the playoffs]."


The Phillies, meanwhile, ended a six-game losing streak with the win.

Jerad Eickhoff threw six innings for the Phillies. He held the Mets scoreless until there were two outs in the sixth when he allowed an RBI single to Alejandro De Aza to tie the game at 1-all. Eickhoff finished with eight strikeouts while allowing four hits and a walk.

Both starting pitchers made quick work of the first few innings before the Phillies broke through in the third. Maikel Franco grounded a two-out single through the hole on the left side to plate Cesar Hernandez for the game's first run.

Franco singled in all four of his at-bats, tying a career-high for hits.

Eickhoff retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a walk and hit in the fourth inning. Mets starter Gabriel Ynoa exited after 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball and was replaced by lefty Jerry Blevins.

During the fourth, Collins began to take out his veterans. He pinch ran for Curtis Granderson after a walk with Juan Lagares, who was promptly caught stealing. Matt Reynolds pinch hit for Asdrubal Cabrera in the top of the inning and de Aza took over for Jay Bruce in right field in the bottom.


The moves wouldn't have been possible without the Mets winning the first two games of the series.

"The big thing is just being able to take control and not have to worry about other things happening in order for you to get in," Granderson said. "Over the season, if you continue to win games, you get the chance to be where you want to be and that's what we've been able to do."

Perhaps the loudest cheers of the game came before first pitch during the ceremony for Howard. The left-field scoreboard displayed a short video highlighting Howards' career accomplishments. Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt and Howard's son Darien unveiled a plaque commemorating Howard's 2006 58 home-run season, which is the Phillies' single-season record.

He was also presented with a hand-painted glove outlining his career accomplishments before speaking directly to the fans. Howard was visibly emotional as he thanked the fans, the city and his teammates.

"All of this has kind of come up on me really fast," Howard said. "I didn't know what I would say. ... I want to thank you guys, the fans, for making it all possible, making it fun. We had some good runs didn't we?"


While the team holds a 2017 contract option for Howard, the team most likely will decline the option and allow Howard to become a free agent. However, he didn't let his impending departure distract him as the season came to a close.

"I really just tried to stay focused on the task at hand and continue to go out and play ball," Howard said, "because, for me, I want to continue to try to play somewhere next year if I'm not back here. I really just tried to stay in the moment."

NOTES: After clinching a playoff berth on Saturday, the Mets sat some of their regulars. Manager Terry Collins went with RHP Gabriel Ynoa in place of RHP Noah Syndergaard, who will now start Wednesday's National League wild-card game in New York. Syndergaard will throw a bullpen session instead of pitching Sunday. ... LF Yoenis Cespedes and 3B Jose Reyes both received days off while CF Curtis Granderson, SS Asdrubal Cabrera and RF Jay Bruce remained in the lineup. Collins said he would likely carry 9-10 pitchers for Wednesday's wild-card game. ... Phillies SS Freddy Galvis who left Friday's game early and sat out Saturday with right hamstring tightness, pinch hit and popped out in the eighth. ... The Mets took the last five series with the Phillies after Philadelphia won two of three from New York on April 8-10.


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