PHILADELPHIA — Five runs for a Jacob deGrom start might have cut it, but forget about it on a night the Mets were forced to test their ultra-thin starting pitching depth yet again.
With Jacob deGrom’s neck hurting and the bullpen on fumes from recent activity, team brass saw Walker Lockett as the best option to get the Mets through Friday with a chance to beat the Phillies.
Lockett sputtered, the Mets reverted to their old tricks with runners in scoring position and Seth Lugo got tagged in the ninth, surrendering a walk-off RBI single to Bryce Harper in the Mets’ 6-5 loss at Citizens Bank Park.
Roman Quinn’s outreached left hand touched home plate just ahead of Wilson Ramos’ tag to score the winning run in the ninth. The Mets went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position in a sloppy game.
Robinson Cano slapped an RBI single against Hector Neris with two outs in the ninth to tie it 5-5 after the Mets had wasted opportunities in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Brandon Nimmo singled to open the ninth and Michael Conforto walked before Neris struck out Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. But Cano, who homered early, delivered with his second RBI in his first game off the injured list.
Billy Hamilton’s overzealousness on the bases hurt the Mets in their attempt to tie the game in the eighth. Hamilton, pinch-running for Luis Guillorme, stole second and when the ball rolled away from Jean Segura raced toward third. Didi Gregorius picked up the ball and threw to third, nailing Hamilton.
Lockett, in his first appearance of the season, lasted six innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He had been part of the Mets’ bullpen depth for the previous three days after arriving from the Mets’ alternate training camp.
Lockett’s night came unglued in the fifth, when J.T. Realmuto smashed a three-run homer that gave the Phillies a 5-4 lead. Lockett had settled in during the previous two innings after a turbulent beginning, but surrendered a double to Rhys Hoskins with one out in the fifth and walked Bryce Harper before Realmuto cleared the left-field fence for his eighth homer.
Smith and Cano homered successively in the third, giving the Mets a 4-2 lead against rookie Spencer Howard. Smith’s homer was his third in as many games and gave him the team lead in that category with five. Cano’s blast came in his second plate appearance off the injured list, from which he was activated following a left groin strain that sidelined him for 10 days.
Andres Gimenez’s energy on the bases helped the Mets score an unearned run in the second. Gimenez stole second and raced to third after Realmuto’s throw sailed into center field. Harper misjudged Luis Guillorme’s fly ball for an RBI single, tying it 2-2.
The Mets got a first-inning run after Nimmo walked leading off the game and raced to third, barely beating the tag, on Conforto’s single to left field. Smith’s fielder’s choice brought in the run.
Lockett surrendered two runs in the second after the Mets had taken a 2-0 lead. Alec Bohm and Quinn delivered consecutive RBI singles after Didi Gregorius doubled leading off the inning and Jean Segura walked.
In a key at-bat in the first inning, Harper hit a comebacker that Lockett turned into a double play after Andrew McCutchen had singled leading off and Hoskins was drilled by a pitch.
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