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Mets rally to beat Phillies in extra innings
Ruben Tejada began the day as a forgotten man, in the starting lineup Sunday only because an illness spreading through the Mets' clubhouse reached Wilmer Flores, his replacement at shortstop.
Tejada ended it by getting tackled by his teammates in short rightfield, where he sprinted in the 11th inning shortly after delivering the hit that beat the Phillies, 5-4.
"Those are things that lift you up and rebuild your confidence when it's down as low as it's been around here," manager Terry Collins said. "It's a big win for us."
Collins sweated through eight excruciating innings before the Mets sent the game into extras by rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth. He watched slumps evaporate before his very eyes.
Chris Young, whose hitless streak reached 18 at-bats, finished 2-for-6 with hits that helped the Mets rally in the ninth and 11th. Tejada's own 0-for-17 slide ended with his sixth-inning double, a prelude to his heroics in the 11th.
Tejada said he felt "pretty good" to come through after what he acknowledged was "a tough week for me and the team" -- an understatement considering that he lost his starting job to Flores and the Mets were on the brink of losing their sixth straight.
Instead, Tejada ripped a bases-loaded single on the first pitch he saw in the 11th, a fastball from Phillies reliever Jeff Manship.
"It was a perfect pitch to hit," said Tejada, who might start at shortstop again Monday night against the Yankees if Flores remains ill.
Illness also made reliever Gonzalez Germen unavailable out of the bullpen, and by the 11th, Collins had exhausted nearly every position player available to him, forcing him to call on pitcher Zack Wheeler to pinch hit and lay down a bunt.
Yet the Mets survived, clawing back for what might prove to be a critical victory going into the Subway Series against the Yankees.
"Things like this can kickstart a nice little winning streak," catcher Anthony Recker said. "Put together a couple of knocks in a big situation and all of a sudden your confidence goes up."
The Mets appeared both down and out, entering the ninth inning trailing 4-1 after going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. They had squandered a solid effort from lefty Jonathon Niese, who allowed three runs in six innings.
Meanwhile, they missed chances against the Phillies' Cole Hamels, who needed 133 pitches to hold the Mets to a run in seven innings.
But in the ninth, the Mets caught a break. Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable, leaving Antonio Bastardo to close it out. He promptly blew a 4-1 lead.
After Eric Young Jr. doubled, Daniel Murphy bashed his third hit of the afternoon, a two-run homer over the fence in right-center that made it 4-3. David Wright struck out, but Chris Young doubled, went to third on Bobby Abreu's single and scored the tying run when Juan Lagares grounded out against Friday night's starter, Roberto Hernandez.
In the 11th, the Mets' persistence paid off. Chris Young began the rally by legging out an infield hit before Wheeler moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Manship intentionally walked Lagares before Recker's infield hit set the stage for Tejada's clutch hit.
After dropping what Chris Young called a series of "down-to-the-wire games," the Mets finally emerged on the winning side. "It was huge," he said. "We needed that one."
The Mets lost a video review in the seventh inning, when manager Terry Collins challenged what he thought should have been an infield single by Eric Young Jr. Umpires determined that Young was out, staying with the original ruling on the field. The review took 2 minutes, 32 seconds . . . Campbell's single in the fourth was , the recently promoted Mets infielder Eric Campbell collected his first major-league league hit.