Phillies and Kyle Schwarber shake off ninth-inning tension in 10-6 loss to Mets


NEW YORK — The pitch, a fastball from Mets reliever Yoan López with a six-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday night, was low and inside and nearly hit Kyle Schwarber.

And because Schwarber hit two home runs earlier in the game and the Phillies hit Mets star Francisco Lindor a half inning early, plate umpire Jerry Meals issued a warning to both benches.

A batter later, López hit Alec Bohm in the back with a change no one in the stadium, not even the Phillies, believed on purpose. The game continued, with the Mets winning 10-6 to win the three-game series and prevent the Phillies 11-12 from pushing the lead over .500.

What should we do, however, with Round 9? An ember that could ignite when the Phillies and Mets meet this week at Citizens Bank Park? Or much ado about nothing?

“I don’t know,” Schwarber said. “He kept it. It could have just been missing down and inward. same guy [that caused a benches-clearing brawl last week] in Saint Louis. But I’m not here to say he was trying to hit me or to say he wasn’t trying to hit me. I do not know. All I know is that he got me out.

For the record, Phillies manager Joe Girardi thought the Mets were trying to hit Schwarber. Mets manager Buck Showalter told reporters that his pitchers “didn’t have much success throwing Schwarber over the plate”, so López tried to tuck in. Girardi agreed with Meals’ warning, but did not believe López was trying to hit Bohm.

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“That’s why I didn’t raise a stink,” Girardi said.

Indeed, none of the Phillies were too pissed off, heading into the ninth inning or their fourth loss in six games against the Mets. Never mind that they hit four homers, three against Max Scherzer. Zach Eflin couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead or a 3-3 tie.

“I think they’re a really good team,” Bryce Harper said. “They’re playing really good baseball right now. We expect no less from what they have been able to do. I don’t see them going anywhere.

A night after releasing starter Kyle Gibson from a goal-laden jam and fifth-inning out, left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado was unable to do the same for Eflin in the same situation. Instead of striking out two batters, as he did on Saturday night, Alvarado uncorked a passed ball and gave up a two-run single to Dom Smith.

The Mets nailed three runs in the seventh against reliever James Norwood and another in the eighth against Cristopher Sánchez, who hit Lindor and brought Showalter to the top step of the dugout. Showalter later said, “I don’t think their guy is trying to hit Lindor.

But the Mets are pitch sensitive. They’ve been hit 20 times in 23 games, including three hits by the Phillies in as many games last month at Citizens Bank Park.

“We didn’t try to hit Lindor,” Girardi said. “We didn’t try to hit anyone there. But I understand. You are hit several times, you start to oppose.

To be continued Thursday in Philadelphia?

“It is what it is,” Schwarber said. “I really don’t give a fuck.”

JT Realmuto recently said that one of the benefits of PitchCom, the new wearable technology that allows catchers to call pitches without traditional hand signals, is that it decreases the risk of cross-ups.

But the Phillies had a miscommunication in the fifth inning, when Realmuto called for a slider and Alvarado threw a sinker.

“You’re not going to catch that,” Girardi said. “No chance.”

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Realmuto did not. The ball popped by him, allowing Lindor to score the equalizing point.

With PitchCom, a catcher wears a transmitter and presses a button to indicate the pitch. The pitcher gets the sign through a voice recording on an audio receiver in his cap. In this case, Alvarado, a Spanish speaker, thought he heard the lead translation.

“I want to hear exactly what each one sounds like in Spanish to see if it’s too close,” Girardi said.

Schwarber continued his assault on the Mets by taking Scherzer deep twice in his first two at bats.

Scherzer electrified Citi Field by fanning the first five batters before Schwarber lined up a 95 mph fastball into the right field bleachers for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. In the fourth, Realmuto worked a step forward before Schwarber crushed a change to the center right for a short-lived 3-2 advantage.

Of 1,008 players with at least 100 career plate appearances against the Mets, Schwarber ranks first with a .752 hitting percentage. Schwarber has homered seven times this season, second in the National League behind Colorado’s CJ Cron (eight).

Bryce Harper also pushed Scherzer deep, with a solo shot in round six. It was the 15th time in 403 career starts that Scherzer had given up three home runs in one game.

In four starts, Eflin has uncorked 55 curveballs without allowing a hit, according to Statcast. His breaking ball didn’t fool the Mets, who had three hits against the field, including Jeff McNeil’s brace, which killed the Phillies in the fifth inning. McNeil finished with four hits to bring his career average against the Phils to .330 (72 for 218).

Eflin couldn’t stop the Mets after the Phillies scored. He escaped a 1-0 lead by allowing two runs in the second inning. After Schwarber’s home run in the fourth inning, Eflin gave up the tying run in the fourth and three in the fifth.

After a day off Monday, the Phillies begin a two-game series with the Rangers at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. Ranger Suárez (2-0, 4.42 ERA) will face Texas right-hander Jon Gray (0-1, 7.00).


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