PHILADELPHIA — When the game hits the ninth inning, all bets are off for the Mets.
For the first eight innings, the Mets offense barely had a pulse. But with their backs up against the wall once again, the offense clicked into overdrive.
The Mets bashed eight hits and scored seven runs in the ninth inning off James Norwood and closer Corey Knebel to pull off an unlikely 8-7 victory over the Phillies in front of 24,040 fans on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Trailing 7-1 entering the final frame, seven different Mets batters provided a hit in the unlikely comeback. Brandon Nimmo tied the score with a two-run single into center field and Starling Marte followed him up with the go-ahead RBI double into deep left-center field.
Marte had two hits in the inning, leading things off with an infield single before Francisco Lindor ended an 0-for-18 streak with a two-run home run to slice the Mets’ deficit to 7-3. Suddenly, the Mets began to believe.
After Pete Alonso knocked a double to left, he scored the Mets’ fourth run on Mark Canha’s RBI single. The Mets were down to their last gasp following Dominic Smith’s strikeout, JD Davis delivered a pinch-hit RBI double and Nimmo evened the score.
Taijuan Walker waxed
Maybe it was the no-hitter late last week, or maybe it was losing a pair of series to their NL East rivals to their north.
Whatever was motivating the Phillies on Thursday night, Taijuan Walker felt the wrath of it.
Walker surrendered six earned runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings.
Walker had faced the Phillies twice earlier in the season to bookend his stint on the injured list with right shoulder bursitis. He did not give up a run in seven innings. But after Thursday’s deluge, Walker’s ERA popped from 0.00 to 4.91.
The Phillies’ offensive explosion was capped by back-to-back home runs by Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos on a pair of hanging sliders in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 7-0.
On the other side, Aaron Nola was looking to bounce back from two losses to the Mets in the opening month of the season.
Nola nearly completely silenced the Mets’ offense, allowing just three hits and one walk across seven innings. He sat down 13 straight batters before Starling Marte got the Mets on the board with a two-out solo shot — his third home run of the year — in the top of the sixth .
It was arguably the Mets’ worst first inning of the season.
After Brandon Nimmo and Marte struck out to account for a 1-2-3 inning against Nola, the Phillies teed off against Walker.
Walker’s woes were confirmed by Francisco Lindor’s fourth error of the season. After Walker walked Kyle Schwarber to lead off the game, a potential double-play ball from Alec Bohm popped out of Lindor’s glove.
Bryce Harper knocked out an RBI double in the next at-bat and the Phillies lead swelled to 4-0 after RBI singles from JT Realmuto and Jean Segura.
And after the Phillies tackled on one more run in the next inning, Harper and Castellanos’ home runs boosted the home side in front 7-0.
glimmer of hope
Buck Showalter is looking for answers in a bullpen that is reeling from the loss of Trevor May to an extended injury.
In his second appearance of the season, Adonis Medina provided a glimpse of his potential through his work between the sixth and eighth innings. Medina tossed 2⅔ scoreless innings with a strikeout and scattering two hits to earn the victory.
He came on with a runner on second in the sixth inning and hit Castellanos in the wrist during the first at-bat of his outing. But he got out of the jam with a fly ball and strike out of Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies’ leadoff hitter got on in the seventh, as well, but Medina induced a double play and ground ball. He sat down the top of the Phillies’ lineup in order in the top of the eighth.
Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @andrew_tred
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism