Mets beat Phillies to clinch NL top wild card
After all the disheartening injuries and trying skids this summer, the New York Mets are right back in the playoffs.
With their ace on the mound at Citi Field.
New York clinched a postseason spot Saturday, beating the Phillies 5-3 to secure the top National League wild card and set off a bubbly celebration that spilled from the visitors’ clubhouse onto the field in Philadelphia.
The defending NL champions will host San Francisco or St. Louis on Wednesday night, with the winner advancing to face the Chicago Cubs.
“We never gave up,” said third baseman Jose Reyes, back in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. “We never doubted the talent we had in here.”
The only other time the Mets made the postseason in consecutive years was 1999-2000. New York won the NL East last season and went all the way to the World Series before losing to Kansas City.
This season has presented all sorts of new challenges. The banged-up Mets (87-74) overcame a bevy of injuries that de-
pleted their lineup and decimated a terrific young rotation — with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all sidelined by season-ending ailments.
Two games under .500 on Aug. 19, the Mets have gone a major league-best 2712 during the last six weeks to vault over four teams in the NL wild-card race.
“This year was much tougher,” winning pitcher Bartolo Colon said through a translator. “We had a lot of people injured and it was hard to get here to play just this one game we’re going to play.”
James Loney hit a tworun homer to back the 43-year-old Colon (15-8), and Jeurys Familia closed for his major league-high 51st save. T.J. Rivera, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera each had an RBI single. By clinching with one day to spare in the regular season, manager Terry Collins and the Mets can save All-Star Noah Syndergaard for the wild-card game. The big right-hander could still get a brief tuneup Sunday against the Phillies, but should be fresh for Wednesday.
“When you’re in, you’re capable of anything,” Collins said after getting doused by his players with beer and champagne. “Anything can happen. We’ve got our ace going on Wednesday. If he can spin one up and you get a couple breaks, you never know.”
When left fielder Michael Conforto made a sliding catch of Aaron Altherr’s soft liner for the final out, the excited Mets streamed out of their dugout and gathered near the mound, bouncing in unison.
Back in the clubhouse, they wore goggles while spraying beer and champagne,
then went onto the Citizens Bank Park field to celebrate with thousands of Mets fans behind the visitors’ dugout. Several players sprayed champagne and sparkling cider into the crowd while a few others lit victory cigars.
“We have a great fan base,” Loney said. “You can see their excitement and their passion, and we play off that.”
Colon allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.
Patrick Schuster (0-1) took the loss.