PHILS INSIDER

Bad blood bubbles as first-place Phillies eke one out against Mets

PHILS INSIDER

On a night when they were severely shorthanded and didn't do diddly offensively, the Phillies managed to eke out a 2-1 win over the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.

Both the Phillies' runs were unearned and the result of an unusual play in the second inning.

Later in the game, the benches cleared when Phillies reliever Jose Alvarado struck out Dominic Smith for the third out with two men in scoring position to end the top of the eighth inning.

Alvarado climbed back from a 3-0 count to strike out Smith. As he walked off the field, Alvarado shouted at Smith. The pitcher then tossed aside his glove and challenged Smith.

The benches emptied and peace was restored, but things got hot again when Rhys Hoskins and Mets reliever Miguel Castro exchanged words after a couple of inside pitches and a walk in the bottom of the inning.

Alvarado and Smith had previously had words at Citi Field earlier in the month after Alvarado hit Michael Conforto with a pitch.

After the game, Mets manager Luis Rojas accused Alvarado of "instigating." Rojas added that Alvarado crossed the line.

"You got your punchout, you did what you had to do, just get off the field and let the game go," Rojas said. "I'm glad nothing further happened."

Smith said he didn't mind Alvarado "pimping" the strikeout. He added that he was "a grown-ass man," and if Alvarado wanted a piece of him, he should have come at him before waiting for his teammates to come out of the dugout.

 

"He can meet me in the tunnel tomorrow if he really wants to get after it," Smith said.

Hoskins said he doesn't expect any carryover into Saturday night.

"Mets against Phillies, that's what it is," he said. "Emotions were high. That's how these division games are. It doesn't matter if it's April or September. It seems like it's always a dogfight with the Mets."

The Phillies won the game despite getting just three hits. They were all singles and one of them was a bunt hit by Odubel Herrera in the fifth. The Phils' other two hits were singles in the second inning by Brad Miller and Andrew Knapp against Mets starter Marcus Stroman, who left after five innings with hamstring tightness.

Both Miller and Knapp scored on an unusual play in that second inning.

On the play, Phillies starting pitcher Chase Anderson swung at a third strike with the bases loaded and two outs. The out, however, was not recorded because Mets catcher James McCann was crossed up and completely missed the pitch from Stroman. The ball hit off home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak's shin guard and rolled toward the Phillies' on-deck circle.

Miller scored from third on the play and Knapp came around and scored from second on an alert base-running play.

In addition to being held to just three hits, Phillies hitters struck out 12 times.

It wasn't a pretty win, at least offensively, but the Phils got it and finished the month of April at 13-13, good for first place in the NL East.

The Phillies were without four regulars — Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Didi Gregorius and manager Joe Girardi.

Harper was out with a sore wrist, an aftereffect of his getting hit in the face with a 97-mph fastball Wednesday night.

Realmuto was a late scratch after taking a wild pitch off the base of his right hand in St. Louis on Thursday.

Gregorius was placed into COVID-19 protocol before the game.

Girardi was away at his daughter's college graduation.

Playing shorthanded meant someone had to step up and the pitching did. It had to because the offense was anemic.

Anderson pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just one run in earning his first win as a Phillie.

The Phillies' bullpen, which allowed just one earned run in 11 innings the previous four games in St. Louis, delivered four scoreless innings. Gas-throwing right-hander Sam Coonrod got the final three outs for his first save. He received nice defensive backing from Alec Bohm at third and Hoskins at first. Both made big plays in the inning.

"The defense making unbelievable plays like that makes pitching easier," said Coonrod, who credited teammate Brandon Kintzler for helping him harness his triple-digit fastball.

Coonrod and Kintzler play catch daily. Kintzler has taught Coonrod to have a purpose with every ball he throws, even while playing catch three hours before the game. The mindset, Coonrod said, has helped him pitch ahead in counts.

 

The Mets entered the game ranked 29th in the majors, scoring just three runs per game. They have been held to just two runs in their last 30 innings.

The Phillies are 3-4 against the Mets this season. The Phils have not won consecutive games since games 3 and 4 of the season, a span of 22 games. They will look to do so behind Zack Wheeler on Saturday night. Taijuan Walker will pitch for the Mets.

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