Cabrera clubs HR in 11th to lift Mets past Phillies
PHILADELPHIA — Asdrubal Cabrera hit the New York Mets’ 224th home run of the season to extend a franchise record in the top of the 11th inning and that lifted the Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 in the penultimate game of the 2017 season.
The three-run homer off Phillies reliever Adam Morgan (3-3) capped a four-hit night for Cabrera, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, and gave the Mets their 70th victory of the season. Cabrera’s 4-6 night at the plate raised his average this month to .371 and the third baseman has been the brightest spot in the Mets lineup down the stretch.
“I would say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Cabrera said. “And we’ve got one more game left and I’ll do my best.”
The Mets led the Phillies 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, but Philadelphia mounted a comeback. The Phillies got one run back when Aaron Altherr hit a sacrifice fly that scored Freddy Galvis from third before first baseman Rhys Hoskins tied the score with an RBI single to left field.
To that point, the Mets’ bullpen had stifled the Phillies’ lineup after starter Seth Lugo was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the fifth.
“This is a great hitting park and I’m sure a lot of teams do, but it’s a place that for some reason our team rises up when they come here,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We play pretty well and tonight we got some hits early and our bullpen did a great job.”
With the wind blowing toward home plate all evening, two deep RBI doubles and a triple gave the Mets a 4-2 advantage. But in the top of the 11th, the wind finally gave way to Cabrera’s winning home run.
“He had to hit it tonight,” Collins said. “That wind blowing and as cold as it was, there were about four balls hit on both sides that normally are home runs here. We just got lucky.”
Brandon Nimmo’s first major league triple, knocking in Nori Aoki and Jose Reyes, put the Mets on top 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning.
Maikel Franco, after pulling a ball just to the left of the foul pole earlier in the at-bat, hit his 23rd home run of the season off Seth Lugo in the bottom of the second to put the Phillies ahead 1-0.
After catcher Jorge Alfaro doubled off the wall in left center, Cesar Hernandez beat out an infield single to score the rookie and give starter Henderson Alvarez a two-run cushion to pitch with, but command issues hamstrung his performance. After the Phillies surrendered their early advantage, their bats went silent.
“Tough loss on a cold night,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “We had the lead, lost it, came back and tied the game. Offense sputtered a bit. The only hit after the third inning was Hoskins’ base hit to tie the game up.”
The Mets got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth when Amed Rosario’s ground-rule double scored catcher Kevin Plawecki from second, cutting the Phillies’ lead in half.
In the top of the sixth, the Mets nearly extended their lead when Juan Lagares tagged from third on a fly ball to left field. Phillies outfielder Nick Williams gunned him down short of the plate with Alfaro hanging onto the ball after the collision, saving a run.
“I just took him out for precautionary reasons,” Mackanin said. “I think he’s going to be fine. The doctor checked him, but we’ll know more tomorrow. He told me he was fine, but I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Lugo went four innings, surrendering six hits and two earned runs in his final start of the season. The right-hander was lifted for a pinch hitter to lead off the top of the fourth.
“He’s just a good pitcher,” Collins said. “That’s why I took him out and I said, ‘Now you know you’re healthy and it’s time to rest up and certainly keep the strength up in your arm, shoulder and elbow and next year have a big year.’”
Alvarez struggled in his final start of the season for the Phillies. He gave up three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings but walked six batters and failed to post a strikeout. Alvarez finished the season with an 0-2 record and a 4.30 ERA in three starts.
NOTES: Since Sept. 10, the Phillies have committed just three errors and have the top fielding percentage in the majors during that span. ... The Phillies have hit 111 home runs at Citizens Bank Park this season, the most they’ve hit since 2009 when they hit 108 out of the park. ... The Mets have won 18 of their last 21 series vs. the Phillies and they are 37-18 against Philadelphia since the start of 2015. ... New York has had 10 players hit 10 or more home runs this season, the most in team history.