By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA— It took all of five hours and 23 minutes, but the Phillies came away with a 6-5 win in 14 innings late Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park thanks to a walk-off RBI single by Reid Brignac that scored Marlon Byrd.
“I had a good feeling,” Brignac said. “I was trying to stay confident and trying to get a good pitch to hit. Luckily (Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia) threw me a cutter that caught a lot of plate and I didn’t miss it.”
On a long night where the winds started blowing from the outfield to home plate, the Phillies should probably thank Mother Nature for the shifting wind patterns. Byrd opened the 14th and hit what looked to be a routine flyball, but Mets rightfielder Chris Young misplayed it and the ball popped out of his glove.
“It looked like he took his eye off the ball at the last second,” Brignac said. “The wind kind of pushed back a bit. That was a play that Chris (Young) makes 10 out of 10 times. He just happened to drop it this one time. You don’t see that often.”
Byrd ended up on second and was moved to the third on a single by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Mejia intentionally walked Cesar Hernandez to load the bases for Brignac’s single. It was the second walk-off hit of his career. The last time he did it was back 2010 when he was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays against the New York Yankees when he hit a walk-off home run.
“That was a big swing, a couple hits,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “He finally got a strike in the zone. The bases loaded had something to do with that. The pitcher had to come at him.”
The Phillies were able to come away with the victory because of its often-criticized bullpen. The combination Jake Diekman, Mike Adams, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Mario Hollands, and Justin De Fratus, who got the win, held the Mets to just three hits.
“From a bullpen perspective it’s awesome to go out there and hang that many zeroes,” De Fratus said. “Hopefully, we build off of this and we keep it going.”
Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett had a strange night. Sometimes, he was pretty good and other times not so good. He had 11 strikeouts and six walks. He gave up five runs on five hits in seven innings. He threw 115 pitches.
“I’m not all over the place, I’m missing here and there,” Burnett said. “Six (walks) is a lot and they scored. I’m just going to keep grinding until find a way. It was one of the games in which got I stronger.”
Perhaps the biggest hero for the Phillies in this game was leftfielder Domonic Brown, who was 1-for-4 including a huge three-run homer in the fourth inning.
“I was some tough luck at time, but that’s baseball,” Brown said. “I think I’ve been doing a decent job with runners in scoring position. I’m just build off that. I played good tonight, but I’m just trying to keep it going.”
In the second inning, Burnett gave up two straight walks to leftfielder Curtis Granderson and right fielder Bobby Abreu. First baseman Lucas Duda doubled to score Granderson from second. Catcher Tony d’Arnaud grounded out to second to score Abreu from third. Shortstop Ruben Tejada singled to left to bring home Duda.
Burnett helped his own cause with a single to right to open the third inning. Rollins singled to right and Burnett went to third because Abreu over ran the ball and was charged with an error. Burnett scored on Chase Utley’s ground out to second to cut the Mets margin to 3-1.
The Phillies took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on a three-run homer to the right-field seats by Brown off Mets starting pitcher Rafael Montero, who allowed four runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings.
Just when it looked like the Phillies were about to take control, the Mets regained the lead at 5-4 on a two-out RBI double to right field by Abreu that score Juan Lagares, who reached on an infield single and Daniel Murphy who walked.
The Phillies evened things in the fifth on Brown’s RBI ground out to the shortstop to score Marlin Bryd, who walked to open the inning and went to third on a double by Ruiz.
It would be another three hours and nine innings before anyone scored again.