Eduardo Escobar walks off Mets in 10-inning win over Phillies for first sweep

It’s understandable if the Mets openly wept, praying it wasn’t so, as the Phillies prepared to leave town Sunday night.

But alas it’s true: After a steady diet of games against manager Joe Girardi’s beleaguered bunch over the first two months, the Mets will have to find a new punching bag, at least until August.

Eduardo Escobar delivered the knockout punch on this night with a walk-off RBI double in the 10th inning that delivered a 5-4 victory at Citi Field that completed a three-game sweep — the Mets’ first sweep this season.

After Francisco Lindor struck out leading off the 10th against Corey Knebel and Pete Alonso was intentionally walked, Escobar stroked a line drive to right field that scored automatic runner Starling Marte.

Nick Plummer provided the heroics in the ninth. The outfielder, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, smashed a homer leading off the ninth against Corey Knebel that tied it 4-4, giving the Mets their first run in eight innings. Plummer became the 14th player in Mets history whose first career hit was a home run. (It came on the 10th anniversary of the last Mets to accomplish the feat; Jeremy Hefner, now the team’s pitching coach, also went deep against the Phillies).

Mets
Nick Plummer hit his first career home run on Sunday.
Jason Szenes

Left-hander Joely Rodriguez allowed two runners to reach base in the eighth, but aced his toughest test, retiring Bryce Harper for the second out. Adam Ottavino entered and got two quick strikes on Nick Castellanos before leaving a 96 mph fastball over the plate that disappeared behind the left-field fence, placing the Mets in a 4-3 hole.

Chris Bassitt allowed one earned run on two hits over six innings with seven strikeouts and three walks in burying the memory of his worst performance in a Mets uniform, in San Francisco last week (when he allowed eight earned runs over 4 ¹/₃ innings while battling a sinus infection).

The Mets improved to 9-3 against the Phillies this season. In a scheduling quirk, the NL East foes have already played four series, but the Mets still haven’t faced the Marlins. The final two series of the regular season between the Mets and Phillies are scheduled for August.

Eduardo Escobar reacts after his walk-off hit.
Eduardo Escobar reacts after his walk-off hit.
Jason Szenes
Mets
Eduardo Escobar
Jason Szenes

The Mets (32-17) have arrived at Memorial Day — a traditional marker in the marathon of a baseball season — leading the NL East by 8 ½ games. It’s the biggest division lead in MLB.

“I feel like how we’ve played together, we have stuck together, it’s just been remarkable,” Alonso said. “We have a lot of high-quality, character guys in this clubhouse and we have just been pulling in the same direction. If you have that and also you have guys playing well defensively, running the bases and hitting and pitching well, that becomes the end product.”

A potential casualty accompanied this Mets victory: Drew Smith left the game in the seventh inning after attempting to barehand J.T. Realmuto’s chopper through the middle. The ball clipped Smith’s pinkie, necessitating his removal after he had recorded two outs. Smith departed the game with a dislocated pinkie, according to the Mets, but X-rays were negative for a fracture and he will be evaluated on a daily basis.

Bassitt retired the last 10 batters he faced in a seventh start this season in which he lasted at least six innings.

He survived a 34-pitch third inning in which he walked three batters, but allowed only one run. Odubel Herrera hit a fly to left that Plummer misplayed into a double leading off the inning before Bassitt walked Johan Camargo and Kyle Schwarber to load the bases. Alec Bohm hit into a double play, bringing in the run, and after Harper walked, Castellanos struck out.

Mets
Adam Ottavino allows a three-run homer to Nick Castellanos in the eight inning on Sunday.
Jason Szenes

The Mets took advantage of the Phillies’ shoddy defense in grabbing a 3-0 lead against Zack Wheeler in the first inning. After Luis Guillorme’s leadoff double and Starling Marte’s ensuing single put runners on the corners, Lindor hit a grounder to first that Rhys Hoskins attempted to turn into a force out at second. But with Guillorme running from third, Camargo, the shortstop, hurried and never stepped on second base before throwing home. After Alonso singled, the Mets got two additional runs without the ball leaving the infield, on grounders from Escobar and Mark Canha.

Lindor, with his fielder’s choice, became the first Mets player with an RBI in seven straight games since Lucas Duda in 2014. Lindor is third in the National League with 38 RBIs.

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