It looked like a game-tying three-run home run for Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning.
It was ruled a home run on the field.
Upon further review, it was a two-run double. And that difference between a three-run homer and a two-run double was the difference in the game for the Phillies in Sunday night’s 8-7 loss to the Mets.
"It’s just so crazy to know that baseball comes down to inches so many times,” starting pitcher Zach Eflin said.
Hoskins’ drive bounced off the top of the railing above the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. Hoskins redeemed himself after committing an embarrassing gaffe in the field in the Mets’ six-run eighth inning, but after an official review, he was credited with a two-run double rather than a dramatic game-tying homer.
"Obviously it’s frustrating, it goes against us, but I’m assuming they’re right," manager Joe Girardi said. "I’ve said all along, the whole idea of replay is to get the calls right."
The game ended with a strikeout from Bryce Harper, who appeared to have trouble swinging in his final two at-bats in his first game back from a sore wrist. Girardi said Harper was dealing with a stinger and that he's all right.
The Phils entered the top of the eighth inning with a two-run lead but gave it away on a home run from Kevin Pillar and a bad play in the infield that led to Jonathan Villar scoring the tying run. With one out and a man on first, Jeff McNeil grounded a ball just past Hoskins at first base. It trickled off of Hoskins’ glove into right field and Hoskins casually lobbed the ball back to second baseman Nick Maton. When Villar saw the soft toss back into the infield, he continued running around third and tied the game.
A brutal play. The ball itself may have been playable, but the toss back in made matters much worse.
"We can’t make those mistakes," Girardi said. "We’re making way too many mistakes defensively. We need to clean it up. We talk about it all the time. We’re giving them way too many extra outs. You’ve always got to be on your toes in this game, you’ve got to understand who runners are, you’ve got to think ahead."
This is a major reason why the Phillies have gone 24 straight games without winning two in a row. They’ve been giving teams extra outs and they haven’t hit enough to offset it. The Phillies have scored four runs or fewer in 19 of their 28 games and were at that number on Sunday before a three-run rally that fell just short.
"It’s a mental error that can’t happen at any point in the game," said a frustrated Hoskins.
Lefty reliever Jose Alvarado, suspended three games by MLB earlier in the day for his actions after striking out Smith Friday night, was unable to stop the Mets’ momentum in the decisive eighth inning. He allowed a single and a walk before walking in the winning run. He was removed for David Hale, who promptly allowed a three-run double. Alvarado is eligible to pitch as he appeals his suspension.
Two innings earlier, the Mets tied the game on an error by Eflin, who threw wide of second base trying to hastily begin a 1-6-3 double play.
Alec Bohm also made an error at third base, his fourth of the season.
The Phillies are 13-15 and have a .375 winning percentage since their 4-0 start.
Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the first with a 445-foot blast onto Ashburn Alley past left-center field. On an 81-degree night with no wind, the Phillies looked poised to break out offensively against Mets lefty David Peterson, whom they had scored 12 runs against in 12 innings entering the night. McCutchen homered, Hoskins walked and Harper laced a single, but the inning ended on a hard-hit double-play ball by Bohm.
The Phillies' offense then went silent for four innings before Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer that briefly put the Phillies ahead.
The Phils' seven-game homestand continues with a four-game series against the Brewers, who are in first place in the NL Central at 17-11.
The Phillies will start Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola, Chase Anderson and Zack Wheeler, in that order. Monday night will be Velasquez' third straight start in place of Matt Moore, who has lingered in the bullpen without pitching since returning from COVID protocol on Monday.
In other news:
- Jean Segura, sidelined since April 21 with a quad strain, ran the bases Sunday and went through “a pretty diligent workout,” according to Girardi. “We’ll make some evaluations after today what we think is next,” Girardi said.
- Archie Bradley’s return from an oblique strain was slowed by a non-COVID illness. The Phillies shut him down for three or four days, which derailed his ramp-up toward a return. Bradley has been out since April 11.