PHILADELPHIA — The benches and bullpens cleared during a late-inning dust-up between Dominic Smith and Jose Alvarado, owner Steve Cohen tweeted a health update about Marcus Stroman, and the Mets lost to the Phillies, 2-1, after allowing both runs on a dropped third strike that should have ended the inning Friday.
Just another day in Mets land.
The dugout-emptying excitement came in the eighth after Alvarado struck out Smith to end the inning with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Alvarado started yelling in the direction of Smith, who was walking toward the Mets’ dugout but turned to pursue Alvarado.
Within seconds, upwards of 50 people stood huddled near home plate. There were no punches, just some heavy breathing on each other.
"I’m a grown-[expletive] man. Come meet me, then, if we really got a problem and we can really handle it," Smith said. "That’s how I look at that issue. He waited for his team to grab him and stuff. But I’m right there. He can meet me in the tunnel tomorrow if he really wants to get after it."
Smith added that he wasn’t sure what Alvarado was saying because "I don’t speak Spanish" and that he responded with "a couple of explicit things." Manager Luis Rojas, a native Spanish speaker, said Alvarado "was instigating a little bit." Alvarado did not talk to reporters.
The umpires restored order quickly, a feat Rojas praised.
"You get your punchout, you did what you had to do, get off the field and let the game go," Rojas said of Alvarado.
The whole exchange was a continuation of an April 13 episode at Citi Field in which Alvarado hit Michael Conforto with a pitch and Smith yelled at Alvarado from the dugout.
Two-plus weeks later, Alvarado seemed to offer a response. Smith said he’s ready for more.
"I’m ready. I’m walking towards you. You don’t gotta walk towards your bench," he said. "If you’re gonna [expletive] me and follow me, then come get me then. Because I’m 60 feet away. So that’s all I was saying. Obviously, it didn’t escalate that far. But like I said, I’m a grown-[expletive] man. I don’t take none of that [expletive]."
The benches started to clear again in the bottom of the eighth when Mets reliever Miguel Castro threw inside twice to Rhys Hoskins, who walked. Castro seemed to follow Hoskins toward first base as they jawed at each other.
Rojas said Castro was not trying to hit Hoskins, blaming the cold, windy weather for Castro’s bad control.
Hoskins made a diving stop on Francisco Lindor’s grounder to end the game.
"There’s a lot of emotions on the field," Rojas said. "I’m glad that nothing bad happened and we finished the game."
Marcus Stroman allowed two runs (both unearned) in five innings. His outing ended after 64 pitches because of a tight right hamstring, but he said he was "100% confident" he would make his next start.
Stroman said it "grabbed" on him in the bottom of the third after he spent almost the entire top of the inning at second base.
The initial Stroman update came via Cohen, who tweeted it directly to a fan, who had suggested that Cohen fire Rojas for pulling Stroman.
The only two runs against Stroman scored on a freak play in the second inning. He had one runner on base with two outs and the bottom of the order due up. Andrew Knapp, a light-hitting backup catcher, singled. No. 8 batter Odubel Herrera — 0-for-12 on the season after not playing last year — drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for the pitcher, Chase Anderson.
Stroman struck out Anderson for a would-be third out, but catcher James McCann didn’t catch the pitch because of what Rojas described as a miscommunication about which pitch was coming. Ruled a passed ball, it ricocheted off the left leg of plate umpire Jeremie Rehak, allowing two runs to score.
McCann initially ran in the wrong direction, so Stroman ended up running toward the ball instead of covering the plate as the second run scored.
"Passed balls are going to happen," Rojas said. "We just need to recompose and make sure we do what we need to do next."
All of that distracted from another terrible offensive effort from the Mets, who finished 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Their sixth-inning tally against Anderson and reliever JoJo Romero snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak. In their past 30 innings — since Sunday — they have scored two runs.
"At least Twitter is making me laugh," Cohen tweeted in the seventh, "on a tough night so far."
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