Phils top Mets 2-1 in bench-clearing, trash-talking opener
Phillies reliever José Alvarado thumped his glove and gestured at Dominic Smith after a strikeout ended a rally. Smith pulled off his helmet and the Mets left fielder seemed ready to fight back against the jabbering pitcher until both teams spilled out of the dugout and broke up the dust up before punches were thrown.
Miguel Castro responded with a pair of inside heaters that had Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins momentarily steamed.
The Mets and Phillies turned the eighth inning into a bench-emptying, trash-talking, finger-pointing commotion that spiced up a routine game -- and could ignite more sparks this weekend -- in the Phillies’ 2-1 win on Friday night.
“He made a big pitch, he got me out and he wanted to express his emotions,” Smith said.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said Alvarado — who hit Michael Conforto and riled up Smith and the Mets with gestures earlier this month — was to blame.
“You could tell that it was instigating. he was trying to get his attention, trying to start things,” Rojas said. “That’s what got Dom turning back and walking toward him.”
Hoskins said emotions where high and he didn’t expect any carryover into Saturday.
“A couple of balls were a little close and nobody likes that. But it was nothing, man,” Hoskins said. “That’s how these division games are.”
The fireworks fizzled faster than a Mets’ rally: New York has scored an MLB-low 58 runs, including two or fewer in nine of 20 games this season.
Sam Coonrod worked a scoreless ninth for his first save.
Chase Anderson swung and missed at a passed ball on a third strike that let two runs score, and he tossed five solid innings to lead the Phillies.
Odúbel Herrera received a smattering of boos in his first game in Philadelphia since his arrest on domestic violence charges two years ago. The former All-Star center fielder was recalled this week against St. Louis and played in his first major league game since May 26, 2019.
Herrera, who had last played on May 26, 2019, was suspended for the remainder of that season under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The charges against Herrera were dismissed, and he was assigned outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Jan. 16 last year and wasn’t part of the 60-player pool for the shortened season.
He hit eighth and was booed -- not heavily among a crowd much lighter than the 10,914 fans announced on a chilly, blustery night -- and walked to load the bases. Anderson swung on a pitch from Marcus Stroman (3-2) that darted away from catcher James McCann and sent two runners home. The Phillies had a second straight game decided by bad pitch: David Hale’s game-ending wild pitch in the 10th inning cost them Thursday in a 4-3 loss against the Cardinals
Anderson (1-3) struck out six in five-plus innings and left after Pete Alonso’s leadoff single in the sixth. Smith added an RBI single to make it 2-1.
Stroman left with a tight right hamstring after he struck out eight in five innings. In a sign of the times, Stroman’s injury was announced by new Mets owner Steven Cohen on Twitter. Stroman was optimistic he would make his next start.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi missed the game to attend his daughter’s college graduation. Bryce Harper missed a second straight game after he took a 97 mph fastball to the face in St. Louis; shortstop Didi Gregorius was placed on the COVID-related injury list; catcher JT Realmuto was a late scratch with soreness in his catching hand; and second baseman Jean Segura remained sidelined with a quad strain.
Bench coach Rob Thomson subbed for Girardi.
“I think it’s over and we’ll move on to tomorrow,” Thomson said of the yapping.
Mets: Manager Luis Rojas said he could go with a bullpen game Monday in St. Louis and give ace RHP Jacob deGrom an extra day of rest. ... INF Luis Guillorme was placed on the 10-Day IL with a right oblique strain. INF José Peraza was recalled from the team’s Alternate Training Site.
Phillies: Segura could return from the 10-day IL on Saturday. ... Harper said he was thankful he wasn’t seriously hurt after he was beaned by Genesis Cabrera. Harper said he was in a lot of pain and replayed the hit in his mind. “You’re talking a couple of inches up or a couple of inches over on either side and we might be having a different conversation,” Harper said. Harper, who has six home runs, said he won’t rush back to the lineup. He did suffer a sore right wrist when the ball hit him. Harper said he had no ill will toward Cabrera and realized the beanball was not intentional. “It hit me and I’m just very lucky to be sitting here talking to you guys right now,” Harper said.
The Phillies send RHP Zack Wheeler (2-2, 3.13 ERA to the mound against New York RHP Taijuan Walker (1-1, 2.14 ERA).
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