New York Mets' Nick Plummer hits a game-tying home run for his first major league hit during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, May 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK — The latest huge hit in this plum season for the New York Mets came from a first-round draft pick who never had one before.
Nick Plummer launched a tying homer in the ninth inning for his first major league hit, Eduardo Escobar doubled home the winning run in the 10th and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 on Sunday night for a three-game sweep.
“Pretty surreal. Really no words,” Plummer said. “Good memory, good win.”
Nick Castellanos put Philadelphia ahead 4-3 with a three-run homer on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino with two outs in the eighth.
But then Plummer, with his wife in the stands for his first big league start, drove the first pitch from closer Corey Knebel — a 96 mph fastball — into the second deck in right field leading off the bottom of the ninth.
The 25-year-old Plummer, selected 23rd overall by St. Louis in 2015, said he traded an autographed game-used bat for the souvenir ball with the fan who caught his home run. The rookie outfielder said he’ll probably give the keepsake to his parents.
“It’s been a whirlwind, my career thus far,” said Plummer, recalled from the minors on Saturday. “They’ve been a big pillar. My wife’s been a pillar for me.”
It was Knebel’s third blown save in 11 opportunities. Philadelphia wasted a pair of clutch home runs on a 2-5 road trip against the top two teams in the NL East.
“Good teams don’t do that,” slugger Bryce Harper said. “Getting walked off twice in games we should have won. It’s tough. Big homer, big homer and lose. It’s crushing.”
Edwin Díaz (2-1) stranded the automatic runner at second in the 10th. He was aided by a terrific defensive play at third base from Escobar, who reached far over the railing of Philadelphia’s dugout to make a snow-cone catch on a foul pop.
Knebel (1-4) struck out Francisco Lindor to begin the bottom half, and slugger Pete Alonso was intentionally walked. Escobar lined the next pitch into right field to score automatic runner Starling Marte from second and was swarmed by excited teammates in the infield.
“Awesome. It was a crazy win,” Mets starter Chris Bassitt said. “It happens because we believe in it. You get us down a little bit, but we’re just not going to quit.”
It was the third time in the game Alonso was walked — twice intentionally — in front of Escobar, who began the night batting .226 with 12 RBIs.
His fifth career walk-off RBI and first since September 2018 gave the NL East leaders their first sweep of the season. They are 12-2-1 in series this year.
Mets setup man Drew Smith dislocated the pinkie on his pitching hand reaching for a comebacker, but New York (32-17) improved to 9-3 against Philadelphia. The division rivals don’t meet again until Aug. 12.
Zack Wheeler settled in after a tough start for the struggling Phillies (21-27), who have lost 10 of 14 and fell 10 1/2 games behind the Mets. He gave up three runs — one earned — in a 32-pitch first but delivered six solid innings against his former team.
“We all know the talent in here and what we’re capable of. We just have to do it,” Wheeler said.
Lindor knocked in a run with a grounder, extending his career-best RBI streak to seven games. That’s the longest by a Mets player since Lucas Duda in 2014.
Escobar and Mark Canha had RBI groundouts.
Philadelphia loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, but mustered only one run on Alec Bohm’s double-play grounder.
Bassitt walked three in the inning and needed 34 pitches to get through it. But he found a groove after that and rebounded from a dreadful start Tuesday in San Francisco.
The right-hander struck out seven in six innings of two-hit ball. He threw 100 pitches and retired his final 10 batters.
“Extremely frustrating,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said about the loss.
Asked after the game about his job security, Girardi said: “I’ve never worried about my job. I don’t worry about my job. I’ve got to do my job. It’s the business of being a manager. I don’t worry about it.”
Phillies: OF Mickey Moniak, the top pick in the 2016 amateur draft, could come off the injured list in the next day or two. Sidelined all season by a broken right hand, Moniak has been playing rehab games at Double-A Reading. … SS Didi Gregorius (sprained left knee) is rehabbing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and is probably further from a return than Moniak.
Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo (sore right wrist) missed his second consecutive game but is expected back shortly. … Hot-hitting 2B/LF Jeff McNeil was out of the starting lineup to rest his legs but pinch-hit in the ninth. “Just kind of a day-to-day thing,” manager Buck Showalter said. “More preventative.” Luis Guillorme started at 2B and batted in Nimmo’s leadoff spot. Plummer played left field, with Canha in center.
Smith reached with his bare hand for J.T. Realmuto’s two-out comebacker in the seventh and it deflected off his right pinkie for a single into center field. The reliever was visibly angry as he walked off the field with an athletic trainer.
“Frustration,” Smith said. “You know as a pitcher you’re not supposed to do that.”
X-rays were negative for a fracture, the Mets said, and Smith is day-to-day. A doctor popped his pinkie back in place and he hopes to avoid the injured list.
“I honestly thought it was broken on the mound,” he said. “Dodged a bullet.”
Phillies: RHP Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.94 ERA) pitches Monday at home against San Francisco RHP Logan Webb (5-1, 3.54) in the opener of a three-game series.
Mets: LHP David Peterson (2-0, 2.16 ERA) starts Monday night against Erick Fedde (3-3, 3.55) and the last-place Nationals at Citi Field. Peterson is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in three career outings versus Washington.
MILWAUKEE — Whether or not Boston catches the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, the Celtics will have reason to feel confident if the teams meet in the playoffs for a second straight season.
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