The Mets dropped the series opener to the Phillies, 2-1, in 10 innings Friday night, snapping a six-game winning streak. But the score of that one game amid a six-month season might not have mattered as much as the fate of the two players who departed with injuries.
Third baseman Eduardo Escobar was lifted in the bottom of the second after experiencing left side tightness. He had an MRI and an ultrasound, but manager Buck Showalter didn’t reveal the results of those tests.
Second baseman Jeff McNeil exited before the top of the third — moments after Escobar left — because of a cut on his right (throwing) thumb. He received “two or three” stitches, according to Showalter.
Showalter wasn’t sure how long either player would be out. The Mets (73-40) pulled infielders Gosuke Katoh and Deven Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse’s game, standard procedure in case they need roster moves.
“Losing those two guys will definitely hurt,” Max Scherzer said. “More guys are going to get opportunities to go out there and have success. Every time somebody’s gotten that opportunity, they’ve gone out there and done something about it. That’s the great thing about what we’ve done as a team. We’ve played team ball. It doesn’t always have to be the best guys. It can be the right guys.”
Those exits briefly caused confusion for the Mets defensively. They ended up moving leftfielder Mark Canha to third base, his first game there since 2016. (after accumulating all of 15 innings at the position in 2015-16).
“You’re kind of hoping they don’t hit it to you ever,” Canha said. “I really didn’t want to make a mistake and make [Scherzer] angry or anything.”
A pair of medium-depth fly balls, in the bottom of the ninth and the top of the 10th, decided the game.
First came Daniel Vogelbach’s flyout to left, the second-to-last out of regulation. Starling Marte tried to score from third on the play, but Matt Vierling made a strong, on-target throw to catcher J.T. Realmuto for an inning-ending double play.
“It came down to a player making a perfect throw,” Marte said through an interpreter.
Showalter said: “It’s a good send. Make them throw him out. Guy made a good play.”
Then came Alec Bohm’s fly ball to rightfield moments later. Bryson Stott scored from third when catcher Tomas Nido missed the throw from Marte.
“Looking back at it now, it’s easy to say what I should’ve done,” Nido said. “I had a little bit more time than I thought. I probably should’ve let the hop come to me than me go get it.”
Marte said: “I was able to take my time on that throw. I thought we had some time to get him out.”
The Mets put Vogelbach, the potential tying run, on third with one out in the bottom of the 10th. But David Robertson — a trade-deadline possibility for the Mets who went to the Phillies instead — struck out Tyler Naquin and got Luis Guillorme to ground out.
The highlight for most of the game was the duel between Scherzer and Phillies lefthander Ranger Suarez, who each allowed one run in seven innings.
Scherzer powered through despite allowing nine hits. He struck out six and walked none. After throwing 43 pitches in the first two innings, he needed just 55 to get through the next five.
Philadelphia (63-49) scored in the first when Stott doubled and scored on Bohm’s single. Stott became the first player ever to reach base safely four times in a game against Scherzer.
The Mets got the run back in the second. Darin Ruf’s double put two runners in scoring position and Canha’s sacrifice fly brought in Pete Alonso.
Now the Mets will wait to see how seriously Escobar and McNeil are hurt.
“Everybody who’s gotten their opportunity has done something with it, and that’s the definition of a great team,” Scherzer said. “That’s why we have the record that we have so far.”