PHILADELPHIA — The New York Mets gave Scott Kingery some extra motivation to get a big hit, and he made them pay.
Kingery snapped an eighth-inning tie with a three-run double and the Philadelphia Phillies beat New York 5-2 on Sunday night to avert a three-game sweep.
Brad Miller hit a solo homer and a double for the Phillies, who pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card.
“It’s a big win for us,” Kingery said. “We needed it, and hopefully that can get some momentum rolling for us.”
After the Mets tied it at 2 on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth, Bryce Harper led off the bottom half with a single against Daniel Zamora (0-1), who was just recalled from the minors. Jeurys Familia walked Rhys Hoskins before Miller flied out to deep centre field and Brandon Nimmo tried to throw out Harper at third, allowing both runners to advance.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he would’ve preferred Nimmo’s throw go to second to keep Hoskins at first and the double play in order. With runners now on second and third, Callaway chose to intentionally walk Cesar Hernandez.
Kingery understood the strategic move, but it helped spur him on. He lined a 1-0 pitch into the left-centre gap to clear the bases.
“It’s part of the game, obviously, to put the double play in order, but it gives you a little extra motivation to want to get a big hit there,” Kingery said. “So just go up there with your plan and try to execute it.”
Pete Alonso hit his 43rd homer and Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 25 games with a fourth-inning double for the Mets, who are four games behind the Cubs.
“We had a good opportunity today, but we still won the series,” Alonso said.
Hector Neris (3-5) got the final five outs for Philadelphia.
“We leaned heavily on Hector and he delivered,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
New York tied it in the eighth when Nimmo, playing in his first game since May 20 due to a neck injury, scored from third on a wild pitch by Neris during a crazy inning.
The Mets put runners on second and third with one out for Jeff McNeil, who entered Sunday batting .326. But his slump reached 0 for 13 when he grounded to Hoskins at first base and he threw out pinch-runner Rajai Davis at the plate.
Davis slid headfirst on the play and took out the legs of veteran umpire Joe West, who ended up laying on Davis for several seconds before finally being helped up by Neris and calling Davis out.
Neris was brought in after Mike Morin allowed the first two batters to reach before Luis Guillorme’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin pitched seven stellar innings, allowing only Alonso’s first-inning homer and two other hits. But Kapler elected to pinch-hit for Eflin in the seventh with Philadelphia ahead 2-1 even though the right-hander had thrown just 84 pitches.
Mets starter Marcus Stroman also pitched well, giving up two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in six-plus innings. Stroman was lifted after Adam Haseley’s leadoff double in the seventh.
Miller was a late addition to the lineup after shortstop Jean Segura was scratched due to the death of his grandmother.
Mets: 2B Robinson Cano, on the injured list since Aug. 5 with a torn left hamstring, is planning a second rehab start Monday at Class A Brooklyn. If all goes well, Cano told reporters after Saturday’s game that he could join the Mets as early as Tuesday.
Phillies: OF Jay Bruce was reinstated from the 10-day IL. Out since Aug. 9 with a left flexor strain, Bruce was batting .250 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 34 games with Philadelphia. He grounded out while batting for Eflin in the seventh.
Mets: Open a three-game set in Washington on Monday afternoon. RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 4.14 ERA) will look to bounce back from his last start against the Cubs when he allowed a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) in three innings. RHP Joe Ross (3-3, 5.36) goes for the Nationals.
Phillies: LHP Drew Smyly (2-6, 6.95) opposes Reds RHP Anthony DeSciafani (9-7, 4.05) in the first of four games at Cincinnati.