PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies and their fans need to belt out a chorus of “Meet the Mets.”
New York saved Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The Phillies dropped their fifth straight game when the Toronto Blue Jays beat them 18-11 before 21,129 fans at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia (80-67), however, didn’t lose any ground in the race for the National League’s final wild-card spot. The Phillies began and ended the day with a 2.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers (78-70) because the Mets rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Milwaukee 7-5.
“We’re at the point where we need to win games,” Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper said. “We’re at a crucial point in the season where we have to show up every single night that we play.”
Even with the Mets’ win, Tuesday’s game was tough to take for the Phillies.
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The Phillies haven’t made the postseason since 2011. Philadelphia has had chances to end its postseason drought from 2018-2021. But the Phillies faded in September in each of those seasons.
Philadelphia has insisted all season the 2022 Phillies are better than the teams of the past four seasons.
That didn’t look like the case Tuesday.
The Blue Jays pounded Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson for 12 hits and seven runs in five innings. Toronto hit eight balls with an exit velocity of at least 100 mph off Gibson, who now has a 9.68 ERA in four September starts.
“Some of the pitches were located well, and some weren’t,” Gibson said. “Every pitch I executed in the strike zone was hit for a base hit. Some of them found holes, and few of them were hit hard.”
The Phillies’ bullpen somehow managed to be worse than Gibson. The relievers allowed 11 runs in four innings.
“We didn’t miss many bats,” interim manager Rob Thomson said. “It seemed like they were on everything.”
Philadelphia did mount two mini-rallies. They scored four runs in the fifth inning as outfielder Dalton Guthrie hit his first career home run.
The Phillies scored five in the bottom of the eighth highlighted by Kyle Schwarber’s 40th home run this season, a 400-foot, three-run shot off the Toyota sign in right field. Schwarber is the first Phillies player to hit 40 home runs since Ryan Howard hit 45 in 2009.
But that’s small consolation for the Philadelphia fans.
Tuesday was the start of a pivotal six-game homestand for the Phillies, which consists of one more game against Toronto and then four with the Atlanta Braves.
Needless to say, it did not begin the way the Phillies wanted.
“You go through some lulls in the season,” Harper said. “This isn’t the greatest spot to go into one. At the same time, we know who we are. We know the type of team we are.”
Notes: Phillies center fielder Brandon Marsh left the game in the third inning with a left knee contusion after crashing into the wall trying to catch a fly ball. Thomson said Marsh will be reevaluated Wednesday.