December 3, 2023

Phillies lose to Mets despite yet another great all-around game by Bryce Harper


AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

The Phillies jumped out to a early two-run lead against the New York Mets on Sunday Night Baseball, but were unable to complete the sweep, falling 3-2 to end a four-game winning streak.

The Phils got exactly what they wanted with Bryce Harper at the plate with two outs in the ninth, representing the go-ahead run. Harper had a great all-around game but made the final out against Edwin Diaz.

The Atlanta Braves won their series finale in San Francisco earlier Sunday, so the Phils (76-73) are two games back with 13 left to play. They made up one game on Atlanta this weekend.

As the Braves move on to a four-game series in Arizona against the 101-loss Diamondbacks, the Phillies host the 102-loss Orioles the next three nights.

Kyle Gibson started Sunday and pitched well but could not hold a small lead. He allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings and struck out nine. The game-winner was Jeff McNeil’s solo home run to begin the bottom of the seventh.

The Phillies have lost all four of Gibson’s starts this month, though it was a positive sign to see him pitch deep into a game after allowing 15 runs in 15 innings in his three September starts prior.

Harper set the tone for the Phillies by manufacturing a run with his legs, driving in another and saving two runs in the field. He worked a two-out walk against Mets lefty Rich Hill in the first inning and scored from first on J.T. Realmuto’s bloop to shallow left-center. Harper was running on the pitch and never stopped, scampering straight through the stop sign of third base coach Dusty Wathan. The throw went to second base, where Realmuto slid in safely. By the time the Mets got the ball to the plate, it was way too late.

Harper drove in the Phils’ second run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field in the fifth. He has an extra-base hit and/or an RBI in 11 straight games and 20 of his last 24.

He saved two runs with an amazing sliding catch to end the eighth inning. Any wasted movement and the ball probably drops.

Despite losing the final game, the Phillies won the season series against the Mets, 10-9, taking six of the last seven meetings. They are 40-30 this season against the NL East, same as the Braves.

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