Sept. 16-- PHILADELPHIA-Fighting for their postseason lives, with their season on the line, the Mets were dealt perhaps the most unfortunate blow imaginable in a crucial game: The National League Cy Young frontrunner, their best player, departed due to injury after two subpar innings (by his standards, at least).
The Mets' starting pitching, for the most part, has been poor. Their offense has often folded with men in scoring position. They've made countless baserunning blunders and too many defensive miscues.
Jacob deGrom's excellence has been their lone constant.
So, how would they react without it?
In a stunning twist, the Mets did not back down or shrivel. They showed toughness and fight, guts and grit.
They overcame a three-run deficit, tied the game late, untied it even later and beat the Phillies, 5-4 at Citizens Bank Park.
The savior: J.D. Davis, who crushed a two-run home run off former teammate Zack Wheeler that brought the Mets within a run in the sixth inning, then blasted a two-out, eighth-inning double that scored the tying run.
The hero: Andres Gimenez, the 22-year-old rookie who singled to drive in Amed Rosario, the go-ahead run, in the top of the ninth.
The Mets, faced with adversity, responded admirably. This season, they've been criticized for their lack of energy and overall lackluster play.
Their road to the postseason is still difficult, but this comeback victory kept them breathing.
The Mets have beat themselves many times this season.
Credit them here, though. When the Phillies made a costly mistake, New York took advantage.
In the top of the ninth, with one out and a man on first, Phillies reliever Hector Neris balked. It allowed Rosario to advance to second base, which then allowed him to score on Gimenez's base hit.
Had Neris not balked, the Mets would have had to work harder for that run. They might not have scored it.
The Phillies had a three-run lead when deGrom exited. It seemed the game might get out of hand as the Mets had to piece together the rest of it.
Instead, the Mets' bullpen became a major factor in the victory.
Following deGrom, Michael Wacha-fresh off a demotion to the bullpen-pitched four innings of one-run baseball, keeping the Mets in the game as they tried to rally.
Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless seventh and Miguel Castro stranded two Phillies in a scoreless eighth in which he tallied three more strikeouts.
Edwin Diaz struck out Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper in the ninth. He then allowed a hit, but struck out Didi Gregorius to end the game.
New York Mets' Jacob deGrom pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Philadelphia.
Looking back, it makes sense that deGrom dealt with an ailment.
He had an uncharacteristic outing-leadoff batters reaching, traffic on the bases, runs scoring.
DeGrom allowed leadoff hits in the first and second,
He allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the first, but retired the next three batters. In the second, he ran into trouble-though his defense did little to help him.
DeGrom allowed three earned runs in a start for the first time since Sept. 3, 2019, when he gave up four over seven innings against the Nationals. Before Wednesday, deGrom had completed 13 outings without surrendering three earned runs.
DeGrom's ERA jumped from 1.67 to 2.09. In that category, he now trails Cincinnati's Trevor Bauer (1.71) and Chicago's Yu Darvish (2.00).
In both innings on Wednesday, deGrom allowed leadoff hits. The second, a double by Jean Segura, began a rough frame for deGrom.
The next batter, Andrew Knapp, smoked a hard shot to the right side that first baseman Dominic Smith, try as he might, couldn't corral as it deflected off his glove. Right fielder Michael Conforto sprinted to the ball, now in foul territory out in right, and bare-handed it before chucking it to shortstop Andres Gimenez. But Gimenez couldn't catch it, an error that allowed Knapp to reach third.
DeGrom walked a man before Knapp scored on a sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, following a mound visit, Andrew McCutchen hit a soft grounder that Gimenez charged, picked up and threw home. However, Wilson Ramos didn't catch it-which probably didn't matter as it seemed Scott Kingery would've scored regardless.
The Phillies had a 3-0 lead on the Mets' ace.
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