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Jul 17, 12:24 AM EDT

Still minus Cespedes, scuffling Mets lose 4-2 to Phillies

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Playing without their strongest hitter again, the New York Mets were unable to push across a run when they really needed it.

Ryan Howard homered and Maikel Franco singled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-2 victory over New York on Saturday night.

Jose Reyes and Travis d'Arnaud drove in the runs for the Mets, who have dropped four of five since All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes was injured.

"We're not taking care of opportunities," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to take advantage of all those opportunities."

New York failed to homer for just the second time in the last 14 games. The Mets entered having hit 14 homers in four games at Citizens Bank Park this season and 33 long balls over the last two years at Philadelphia's home park.

The Mets appeared primed to take the lead in the seventh, but pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson flied out to short left field with runners on second and third and one out before left fielder Cody Asche made an excellent sliding catch for the final out on Asdrubal Cabrera's sinking liner with the bases loaded.

Cespedes was available as a pinch-hitter, but Collins said he went with Johnson because Cespedes couldn't run the bases in the event of a walk.

"We had a chance to add on and we didn't get it done," Collins said.

Philadelphia capitalized on Cabrera's throwing error at shortstop in the bottom half for the go-ahead run. Cabrera threw wide of first baseman James Loney, allowing speedy Peter Bourjos to reach with one out.

"I had all the time," said Cabrera, who has four errors this season. "It happens."

Said Collins: "He is as sharp and as smart of a ballplayer as we have on our team. He probably just lost the grip on it because that's something he does not do."

Bourjos went to second on Asche's walk against Jerry Blevins (3-1) and scored on Franco's single to left.

The Phillies tacked on a run in the eighth when Carlos Ruiz led off with a double, went to third on a groundout and scored on Erik Goeddel's wild pitch.

Ruiz doubled and had two hits for the fourth-place Phillies, who have won 11 of 15. Philadelphia also silenced a large contingent of Mets fans, who sometimes made Citizens Bank Park sound more like Citi Field for the second straight night.

"It was a good win," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I didn't want to hear the Mets fans."

New York tied it in the third on Reyes' sacrifice fly that scored Juan Lagares.

The Mets took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on d'Arnaud's sacrifice fly before the Phillies tied it in the fifth on Asche's groundout that scored pitcher Jerad Eickhoff.


Eickhoff allowed two runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk in six-plus innings. The right-hander singled and doubled to help his own cause.

"He really wasn't that sharp, but he pitched well enough to win," Mackanin said. "Too many baserunners for my liking, but he got us into the seventh inning, so he did a good job that way."


Logan Verrett, making his seventh start in 25 appearances this season, gave up two runs and eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk in six innings. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 5.20 ERA as a starter this season. He took Matt Harvey's spot in the rotation this month when the former ace was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome.

"I felt good," Verrett said. "I felt like I threw the ball well and kept us in the ballgame."


Cespedes missed his fourth straight game due to a strained right quadriceps. Collins said the outfielder will undergo testing Sunday to determine if he is able to play.


The teams wrap up their three-game series Sunday when Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA) opposes RHP Zach Eflin (2-2, 4.08). In six career starts against Philadelphia, deGrom is 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA.

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