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PHILADELPHIA — A blustery night at Citizens Bank Park became a big chill that extended beyond the weather conditions and the Mets’ lack of offense.
Now Marcus Stroman’s hamstring is a concern.
On a night the Mets again were stifled offensively and the benches emptied in the eighth inning — no punches were thrown after Dominic Smith and Jose Alvarado jawed — the most jarring aspect of a 2-1 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park was Stroman’s early departure.
Team owner Steve Cohen, in response to a fan inquiry, tweeted that Stroman left with a tight hamstring. And so, a main component of the team’s rotation is now questionable.
Stroman was removed after only 64 pitches. Over those five innings, he allowed two unearned runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and one walk and lowered his ERA to 1.86. It was a fourth strong start in five for Stroman, who rebounded from a shaky performance against the Nationals last Saturday.
Alvarado struck out Smith to end the eighth and started chirping at the Mets left fielder, a carryover from a game at Citi Field earlier this season during which the fireballer threw high-and-tight to Michael Conforto before plunking him in the wrist. Smith was vocal from the dugout on that occasion.
Order was quickly restored after the benches emptied on this night. But in the bottom half of the inning, Miguel Castro came inside twice to Rhys Hoskins, prompting players to spill onto the field again after glares were exchanged.
The loss was the Mets’ third straight and seventh in nine games. They have scored once in their last 25 innings.
Stroman’s strikeout of pitcher Chase Anderson should have ended the second inning, except the pitch eluded James McCann for a passed ball that allowed two runs to score, with Anderson reaching first base. The runs were unearned.
Brad Miller singled leading off the inning, and with two outs Andrew Knapp hit a slow grounder that went for an infield single as Francisco Lindor’s off-balance throw was offline and late. Stroman then walked Odubel Herrera to load the bases before the strikeout/passed ball put the Mets in a 2-0 hole.
In the sixth, the Mets snapped a scoreless streak that had reached 21 innings. Smith delivered an RBI single in the inning after third baseman Alec Bohm grappled with J.D. Davis’ grounder — the ball got stuck in the webbing of his glove. Davis was out at first base, but Pete Alonso and Conforto advanced to second and third on the play. But the Mets’ momentum died on McCann’s double-play grounder.
The Mets had a semblance of a rally in the second, when Conforto walked and McCann singled, but Anderson got the next two outs. Stroman doubled leading off the third and was left stranded as the top of the order failed to deliver. Davis and Nimmo doubled in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, but were left on base.
Jeurys Familia walked two batters in the seventh following Alonso’s fielding error, but escaped the bases-loaded jam by striking out Andrew McCutchen.
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