Phillies top Mets in Ryan Howard’s farewell

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Maaddi

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Ryan Howard’s farewell game with the Philadel­phia Phillies was filled with stand­ing ova­tions and ended with a win.

Ce­sar Her­nan­dez hit a tiebreak­ing RBI sin­gle in the sev­enth in­ning, and the Phillies beat the play­off-bound New York Mets 5-2 on Sun­day.

Howard, the last player re­main­ing from the 2008 World Se­ries cham­pi­onship team, was hon­ored in a pregame cer­e­mony. The Phillies are plan­ning to pay Howard a $10 mil­lion buy­out in­stead of ex­er­cis­ing a $23 mil­lion club op­tion for 2017.

“It’s amaz­ing the ap­pre­ci­a­tion from the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the fans,” Howard said. “To have it rec­og­nized, it’ll live with me for­ever.”

Howard, who turns 37 next month, thanked fans and the or­ga­ni­za­tion and saluted team­mates in an emo­tional speech. The 2006 NL MVP choked up a few times and fought back tears when he told the crowd: “My fam­ily has grown with all of you.”

Howard was 0 for 4, but he re­ceived sev­eral stand­ing ova­tions and got a cur­tain call af­ter pop­ping out in the eighth. He fin­ished the sea­son with a .196 bat­ting aver­age and hit 25 homers, ty­ing Maikel Franco for the team lead.

Howard got a fi­nal ova­tion af­ter Tommy Joseph re­placed him to start the ninth. He em­braced Joseph near first base while Phillies and Mets play­ers clapped. Howard then walked through the dugout and hugged every­one be­fore com­ing out to wave to fans.

“I didn’t know what to ex­pect,” Howard said. “See­ing the peo­ple and the videos, it hit me all at once. It was great. Philadel­phia will al­ways be home.”

Howard isn’t ready to call it a ca­reer, es­pe­cially af­ter a strong fin­ish — he hit .267 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs in only 101 at-bats from Aug. 1 on.

“I know there’s more in the tank,” he said. “I’ll know when it’s time.”

The de­fend­ing NL cham­pion Mets clinched the top wild-card spot on Satur­day and will play the Giants at Citi Field on Wed­nes­day.

Man­ager Terry Collins gave most of his reg­u­lars a day off and ace Noah Syn­der­gaard was pushed back to start the wild-card game.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited,” Collins said. “It’s great for the fans and our guys are pumped up.”

Mets starter Gabriel Ynoa al­lowed one run and five hits in 4 2/3 in­nings. De­fen­sive mis­cues cost New York in the sev­enth.

An­dres Blanco started the in­ning against Erik Goed­del (2-2) with a sin­gle, ad­vanced to sec­ond on a passed ball and scored the ty­ing run on a dou­ble er­ror by first base­man Lucas Duda, who booted pinch hit­ter Cody Asche’s grounder and then threw it wild to first.

Her­nan­dez ripped a sin­gle to right to make it 3-2 and Jimmy Pare­des fol­lowed with a sac­ri­fice fly for a 4-2 lead.

Franco was 4 for 4, in­clud­ing an RBI sin­gle in the third that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Colton Mur­ray (1-1) pitched one in­ning in re­lief of Jerad Eick­hoff to earn his first ca­reer win de­spite al­low­ing a run. Hec­tor Neris fin­ished for his sec­ond save.

The Mets took a 2-1 lead in the sev­enth when Kevin Plawecki lined a dou­ble to right-cen­ter. The ball ini­tially froze cen­ter fielder Odubel Her­rera, who couldn’t re­cover in time to track it down.

Matt Reynolds hit a dou­ble with two outs in the sixth and scored on Ale­jan­dro De Aza’s sin­gle to tie it at 1-1.

START­ING TIME

Eick­hoff gave up one run and four hits, strik­ing out eight in six in­nings. He fin­ished the sea­son 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA.

BABY STEPS

The Phillies im­proved their win to­tal from 63 in 2015 to 71. They have missed the post­sea­son five straight sea­sons af­ter win­ning the NL East ti­tle five con­sec­u­tive years from 2007-11.

UP NEXT

Syn­der­gaard (14-9, 2.60

MATT SLOCUM — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Phillies pitcher Jerad Eick­hoff pre­pares to de­liver Sun­day against the Mets at Cit­i­zens Bank Park.

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