Phils pull out thriller in New York thanks to Vierling’s throw originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
NEW YORK – This was tight, edge-of-your-seat, playoff-atmosphere baseball, the kind the Phillies hope to be playing in October.
Not only did the Phils gain some valuable postseason-like experience Friday night. They won a big ballgame thanks to their pitching, their defense and a couple of huge RBIs from Alec Bohm.
Bohm plated Bryson Stott with a sacrifice fly to right field to push across the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th as the Phillies beat the New York Mets, 2-1, in front of an electric crowd of 38,467 at Citi Field.
Stott scored on Bohm’s shallow fly ball to right when catcher Tomas Nido could not make a play on right fielder Starling Marte’s throw to the plate.
Moments earlier, Matt Vierling, starting in left field in place of injured Kyle Schwarber, made the defensive play of the game when he cut down Marte at the plate as he tried to score the winning run on a shallow fly ball off the bat of Daniel Vogelbach. Vierling’s strike to J.T. Realmuto ended the bottom of the ninth and saved the game for the Phillies.
“That one felt really good,” Vierling said of his game-saving throw. “And to see how fired up the guys were in the dugout made it even better.”
The win was just the Phillies’ fourth in 13 games against the NL East-leading Mets this season. The two teams had not met since the end of May. The Phillies are 42-20 since June 1 and firmly on the NL playoff grid.
“I feel like for the most part we’re a different team (since the Phillies last played the Mets),” Vierling said. “We’re gelling, coming into our own as a team. To come in here and face a good ball club, go toe to toe with them -- it was a lot of fun and it will help us down the road.
“The atmosphere was pretty electric. It was a lot of fun playing in front of that many people, especially when they’re into it like these fans were.”
The Mets had entered the game winners of six in a row and 15 of 17. They are 73-40 on the season.
After taking the lead in the top of the 10th, the Phils went to David Robertson for the save.
Phillies pitching was excellent all night. It held the Mets to just five hits in 10 innings. Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez preceded Robertson with scoreless work.
Both starting pitchers delivered strong outings.
With Schwarber sidelined with a sore right calf muscle, Stott moved up and batted leadoff for the Phillies. He had three hits, including a leadoff double in the top of the first inning. He came around to score on a base hit by Bohm as the Phillies took an early 1-0 lead on Scherzer.
In addition to his three hits, Stott reached base a fourth time when he was hit by a pitch. He became the first player to ever reach base four times in a single game against Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner.
“He’s obviously going to be in the Hall of Fame so that’s pretty cool,” Stott said.
The Mets tied the game in the bottom of the second. Suarez allowed a leadoff walk to Pete Alonso, a double to left by Darin Ruf and a sacrifice fly to Mark Canha. The damage could have been worse in the inning, but Suarez and first baseman Rhys Hoskins both made strong defensive plays to hold the Mets at a run.
The Phils had their chances against Scherzer. He gave up nine hits, but the Phils left nine men on base in the first nine innings, including the bases loaded in the second. They also left two runners in scoring position in the fourth and one in the eighth.
Pitching and defense kept the Phils in the game all night. Suarez held the Mets to three hits over his seven innings.
“Ranger set the tone with seven really good innings,” Thomson said. “He was throwing strikes, hitting his spots. It was impressive.”
The defense was exceptional. All over the diamond, the Phillies made play after play to keep the game close. It was almost as if the Phils were answering back at Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez, who had publicly criticized the team’s defense earlier in the week. Hernandez wasn’t wrong. The Phillies were a ragged defensive team when the two teams last met in late May.
Now, things are different.
“We’ve been playing like this for a while,” Thomson said. “This was a playoff-type game. I love the poise we showed across the board.”