PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Once he got the ball, Edwin Diaz made sure he finished.
Juan Lagares scored from second base on Michael Conforto’s hard grounder to first in the 11th inning, and Diaz struck out the 3-4-5 batters to preserve the New York Mets’ 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on a blustery Monday night.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway’s decision not to use Diaz with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth backfired, and the closer warmed up three times before finally entering the game. He fanned Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto to end it.
“I’m ready anytime they need me,” Diaz said. “I came here to win. I’ll be ready in any situation.”
Callaway said he prefers to use Diaz for one inning, so that’s why Robert Gsellman replaced Jeurys Familia with a two-out jam in the eighth. Gsellman walked Jean Segura on four pitches to force in the tying run, but Harper then swung at the first pitch and popped out.
Lagares led off the 11th with an infield single against Pat Neshek (0-1), and Brandon Nimmo walked. Two outs later, Conforto hit a sharp grounder that Hoskins couldn’t field for an error. The ball trickled to second baseman Cesar Hernandez and Lagares kept running, scoring easily because the throw was way off target.
“I was ready to score and I knew he didn’t catch the ball,” Lagares said.
Luis Avilan (1-0) pitched out of trouble in the 10th, stranding runners on second and third. Diaz got his sixth save in six tries and his 16th in a row dating to last season with Seattle.
Noah Syndergaard had a rough outing for the Mets, giving up five runs and nine hits in five innings while fanning nine.
“I’m having a hard time gripping the ball,” Syndergaard said. “Not sure what’s going on.”
Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting last year, struggled again. He allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings. His ERA rose to 7.45 while Syndergaard’s climbed to 5.63.
“He’s just not throwing the ball where he wants it,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “I’m concerned he’s not where he wants to go. Flip side is he has a long track record of success. He deserves as much confidence as anybody does.”
Nimmo connected off Jose Alvarez in the sixth, driving his third homer to the seats in right to give the Mets a 6-5 lead.
The Mets jumped on Nola for three runs in the third. Wilson Ramos, who spent the last two months in Philadelphia last season, ripped a two-run single. Jeff McNeil, who later made a pair of outstanding defensive plays at third base, followed with an RBI single.
The Phillies answered in the bottom half. Harper had an RBI single and Realmuto tied it on a two-run single with two outs.
After Robinson Cano lined a two-run double in the fourth, the Phillies tied it at 5 in the bottom half when Maikel Franco crushed an 0-2 pitch way out to left for his fifth homer.
Both teams wore No. 42 jerseys to honor Jackie Robinson. Cano, who is named after Robinson, wore Nike cleats featuring images of Robinson sliding into home plate.
The Mets recalled RHP Drew Gagnon from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned INF Luis Guillorme.
Mets: 3B Todd Frazier is expected to return soon from a left oblique strain, but Callaway isn’t certain when.
Phillies: RHP David Robertson was placed on the 10-day injured list because of soreness in his right elbow.
LHP Steven Matz (1-0, 1.65 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets, and RHP Nick Pivetta (1-1, 9.45) goes for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Matz is 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in five career starts vs. Philadelphia. Pivetta is 2-2 with a 6.39 ERA in five career starts vs. New York.
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