Phillies rally in ninth to edge Mets
PHILADELPHIA — Earlier in the week, Ryan Howard said he was tired of opponents intentionally walking Chase Utley to get to him.
On Tuesday when the opposition chose to pitch to him rather than Utley, the much-maligned Howard delivered a walk-off single for a 15-inning win.
On Sunday, the scenario played out again, and Howard came through again.
In the ninth inning of a tie game, Utley was handed a free pass with a runner on second and two outs. And just like last time, Howard made the opposition pay, lining a game-winning single to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 7-6 victory over the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies crawled all the way back from a 6-1 deficit to snap the Mets’ five-game winning streak at Citizens Bank Park.
“My confidence has always been there,” Howard said. “It’s one of those things. It was pretty much to be expected. Chase had three hits in the game. Three RBIs. Winning run in scoring position, yeah. I don’t have any hits. Who are you going to face? Are you going to face the guy with three hits or the guy with no hits?”
Howard read Mets manager Terry Collins’ mind.
“Number one, you’ve got to make a great pitch to (Utley),” Collins said. “I’m not going to let him beat me. Howard’s been struggling. You’ve got to make him beat you. In my book, that’s the way I look at it.”
Howard did the job, then was tackled by teammates in celebration.
“It was a combination of (Cody Asche), who went down, and I fell on him when (Domonic Brown) got there,” Howard said. “Yes, a little violent today.”
If New York closer Jenrry Mejia (5-5) had his way, he would have gone after Utley.
“I want to finish, but I’m not the manager,” Mejia said after blowing a 6-5 lead by allowing three hits and two runs while recording two outs in the ninth. “I have to do whatever the manager wants me to do. Nothing I can do. A little bit surprised, but I can’t do anything. Terry Collins is the manager. I’m just the player. I have to do whatever he wants me to do.”
In his past four appearances, Mejia is 0-2 with a blown save and 9.84 ERA. After the game, he admitted he is pitching through a hernia injury that will require surgery after the season.
“Doctors say if it bothers me too much to let them fix it, but I don’t want to let them know because I want to keep pitching,” Mejia said. “I keep trying and throw my ball normal. It doesn’t affect me.
“(Doctors) gave me some pills and some medication. If I don’t feel normal, too much pain, they’re going to make an operation. But I want to keep pitching. I want to take some pills and keep pitching. I think I can keep going. I’m ready to go.”
Entering Sunday, New York (56-62) won 11 of its last 12 at Citizens Bank Park, so the last-place Phillies were certainly due.
“The guys are going to continue to fight and battle,” Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We came up a little short (Saturday night), but to come back and fight back, we talked about playing with character and pride, not only that, it’s more fun and it creates some excitement.”
With Philadelphia (53-65) trailing 6-5 entering the ninth, third baseman Asche hit a leadoff double, and he scored the tying run on pinch hitter Marlon Byrd’s single.
Reliever Ken Giles (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his first major league win.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched six innings of three-run, three-hit ball but earned a no-decision. Wheeler is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past eight starts.
Wheeler’s offense gave him plenty of support, scoring six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in five innings off Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick.
Right fielder Curtis Granderson, third baseman David Wright, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, left fielder Matt den Dekker and center fielder Juan Lagares all delivered multi-hit games and scored five of the Mets’ six runs.
New York’s 6-1 lead was trimmed to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning before Utley cut it to 6-5 with a two-run triple in the seventh.
Utley went 3-for-4 and finished a double shy of the cycle.
Howard was 0-for-4 before becoming the hero.
“He’s been in those situations before as far as big moments, driving in runs, getting RBIs,” Sandberg said of Howard. “Once again, the right guy at the right place.”
If only the Mets knew.
NOTES: The walk-off win was the Phillies’ seventh of the season. ... Mets 1B Lucas Duda and C Travis d’Arnaud hit back-to-back solo home runs in the fifth inning. ... Mets RHP Jacob deGrom will miss scheduled Tuesday start because of shoulder soreness. The rookie, who is 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA, will be examined by team doctors in New York on Monday. ... The Phillies claimed RHP Jerome Williams off waivers. Williams pitched for the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros this season, going 2-5 in 28 games (two starts) with a 6.71 ERA. RHP Sean O’Sullivan was designated for assignment to make room for Williams on the roster. ... Phillies OF Marlon Byrd was not in the starting lineup for routine rest. He provided a key pinch hit in the ninth inning. ... The Phillies and Mets finish their four-game series Monday afternoon. Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.41 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39).