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Mets come from behind to beat Phillies in 11 innings


Mets come from behind to beat Phillies in 11 innings

PHILADELPHIA — Following the Mets’ third consecutive loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, manager Carlos Mendoza walked a circle around the postgame clubhouse and said a few words to everyone on the roster. Mendoza, who loathes the idea of team meetings, was reluctant to call this one. But the manager also acknowledged that at an early low point of the season, somebody needed to say something.

“I thought it was a good time just — again, I don’t want to call it a meeting, but just more like a walkthrough after the game with guys,” Mendoza said, “making sure that they’re keeping their heads up.”

The coming months will tell if that not-a-meeting meeting might do anything to affect the Mets’ season. So far, they can only draw from a singular data point: their 6-5, 11-inning, come-from-behind win over the Phillies on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. It was, at times, an ugly affair. But it also showcased the type of chutzpah the Mets will need if they intend to make good on their season-long goals.

“What a great team win,” Mendoza said.

“Huge for us,” added starting pitcher Jose Quintana.

Quintana was long gone by the time the night’s plotlines began twisting in the later innings. After Pete Alonso opened the scoring with the hardest-hit homer of any Met this season, the Phillies rallied twice to tie things — once during a two-run sixth inning, then again off Edwin Díaz in the ninth. For the third time in his last four opportunities, Díaz blew a save, walking the leadoff man and giving up a Bryson Stott RBI single.

But the Mets, as their manager noted, simply kept pushing. After New York failed to score in the top of the 10th, Jorge López induced a key double play to send the game to the 11th. Given new life, J.D. Martinez laced a go-ahead RBI single into right field, and the Mets plated a crucial insurance run on a wild pitch. After giving back one of those runs, Jake Diekman finally struck out Kyle Schwarber with the potential tying run on third to end things.

“For me and all the team,” Díaz said, “this was a great win.”

Coming barely 24 hours after Mendoza’s pep talk, the victory offered a nice bit of narrative for a club that’s scraped and clawed just to reach a 20-23 record. It may be impossible to say if Mendoza’s chat had any bearing on the proceedings, or if the Mets were simply bound to win one eventually. Regardless, it’s clear the Mets have taken their manager’s words to heart.

Harrison Bader, who added to his growing clutch resume with a game-tying RBI single in the eighth inning and a double in the 11th, said Mendoza’s message was for the Mets to keep the bigger picture in mind — “Stay positive, stay in the moment, stay present and breathe.”

“He just reiterated those things last night to us,” Bader said. “I think as a baseball player, as an athlete, something that we’re gifted with is the ability to remain so present and so locked in and so zoomed in. But at the same time, I think it can be detrimental. … So he provided us with some perspective.”

That sort of perspective can matter quite a bit. Consider: From one angle, the Mets are a sub-.500 team that just lost five of seven to the Braves and Phillies, their chief NL East rivals. From another, they have played more than a quarter of the season without their best pitcher, with their closer struggling, with their $341 million shortstop batting .194, with one of the most difficult schedules in MLB … and with a record that places them merely a half-game out of an NL Wild Card spot.

“You’re not as bad as you look at times, and you’re not always as good as when you’re playing well,” their manager said.

After Mendoza spoke some version of those words to his team on Wednesday, three of the club’s veterans — Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte and Brandon Nimmo — spent a long while huddled in a corner of the clubhouse, breaking down one aspect of the game. Last year, the Mets played poorly in the first half but assumed their talent would eventually break through. When it didn’t, the front office traded away significant pieces and the team wound up finishing in fourth place.

This year, the Mets want to make sure things never reach that point.

“Just staying in the pocket,” Bader said, “is a really good message that we implemented tonight.”

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