Bryson Stott sparks Phillies rally in 5-4 win over Mets in extras

Philadelphia Phillies

NEW YORK — Kody Clemens had two responsibilities Monday night for the Phillies: Stay ready to pinch hit and warm up the pitcher while Garrett Stubbs strapped on his gear.

“And I’ve never caught before,” Clemens said, “so it’s pretty interesting.”

Such is life these days on the deepest roster in baseball. Clemens is back with the Phillies because Trea Turner is injured. He was told to be ready to face Mets star closer Edwin Díaz in the ninth inning because banged-up Kyle Schwarber was going to hit only with runners on base.

» READ MORE: Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto has missed consecutive games with knee soreness. Will the injury linger?

Oh, and J.T. Realmuto is coping with a sore right knee, pushing Stubbs into the lineup, and well, someone has to back up the backup catcher. So, there was Clemens, warming up a reliever the seventh inning, then knocking a pinch-hit single against Díaz in the top of a two-run ninth and leaping to spear a line drive in the bottom.

It was emblematic of the depth of the contributions in the Phillies’ 10-inning, 5-4 victory in the series opener against the Mets. Bryson Stott bashed a leadoff homer in the ninth against Díaz and lifted a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run in the 10th.

But the Phillies used 12 position players, exhausting the bench save Realmuto, and six pitchers, including five relievers, who combined to record 13 outs. Fill-in shortstop Edmundo Sosa delivered two more hits; Stubbs drove home a run with a squeeze bunt.

And Clemens did a little of everything to help the Phillies avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time since April 23-24.

”It’s great to have the amount of depth that this team has,” Clemens said. “We emptied the bench tonight. It’s just fun to be a part of it. Everybody’s kind of grinding it out right now, and we’ve got to lean on one another. To go in and contribute always feels great. I just try and be ready for any opportunity that I have.”

The Mets led by two runs entering the ninth inning. Cue the blaring trumpets, the pulsating music, Mr. and Mrs. Met dancing on the dugout. It’s a spectacle whenever Díaz enters a game at home, and more often than not, he closes it out.

» READ MORE: Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto has missed consecutive games with knee soreness. Will the injury linger?

Citi Field hadn’t stopped buzzing when Stott “torched” — manager Rob Thomson’s word — a 97 mph fastball to right field to draw the Phillies within a run. With Sosa due to bat, Thomson’s plan was to use Schwarber if a runner was on base, Clemens if the bases were empty. Up stepped Clemens, who waited on a slider and singled up the middle.

Schwarber, who hadn’t started in three games because of a sore lower back but is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday, got his turn after Brandon Marsh walked. Díaz struck out Schwarber and got Stubbs to pop out, but walked Whit Merrifield to load the bases.

Díaz hit Alec Bohm on his fingers below the knob of the bat, forcing in a run. And although Harper struck out, the Phillies extended the game.

Stott, on a 16-for-38 tear after a 17-for-81 start, put the Phillies ahead with a fly ball before José Alvarado closed it out with a scoreless 10th.

And the Phillies, at 29-13, tied the 1995 team for the second-best 42-game start in franchise history.

“The roster’s deep, and it’s just showing how deep it actually is without three of our guys,” Stott said after the Phillies clinched at least a tie of a 12th consecutive series. “It’s three people, not just one, that get to play and help us win. It’s a lot of fun.”

It’s also a testament to the growth of young everyday players, including Bohm and Stott, that the Phillies can withstand losing star players and keep winning.

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To hear Stott tell it, his recent turnaround is simple.

“Not panicking,” he said. “It’s a very long year. Anything could happen. Just knowing that I had 600 plate appearances last year and 90 [bad ones] wasn’t going to kill me. I think I have a pretty good feel for the strike zone and taking the walks when they’re there.”

If Stott’s rocket put Díaz on his heels, Clemens’ single applied more pressure. It was the Phillies’ first pinch-hit all season.

“I was just looking for something out over the plate,” Clemens said. “His fastball has a bunch of carry and run up and away for a lefty. Fortunately he threw me a slider that was over the plate, and I just put a good swing on it.”

There couldn’t have been a better time for it. Or a better symbol of the Phillies’ most rewarding victory of the season so far.

“It was a great win, you know?” Thomson said. “We just keep winning games in different ways and getting contributions from all kinds of people. That’s who they are. They keep fighting. They’re resilient. I’m awfully proud of them.”

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