|Bryce Harper scored in the eighth inning. | PHOTO: Len Yancy|
Kyle Gibson left the mound after the sixth round and let out a cry with the pump of his fist. It capped off an outstanding home debut that helped the Phillies secure a 4-2 victory over the Mets and, more importantly, claim the top spot in the National League East.
“I think I can get used to all of these big moments and big spots that are really meaningful and a lot at stake,” Gibson said. “It’s so much fun.”
Gibson pitched six solid innings, limiting the Mets to one point. He also delivered a hit in the fifth quarter with a single down the middle.
“He came in at 2-0, I was like, ‘He has to take it here,’ said Bryce Harper,“ So, bam, base knock; me and JT [Realmuto] looked at each other like, ‘Alright, well, here we go.’ ”
Gibson escaped a goal-laden no-go out in the fourth, then managed to sidestep a starting double in the fifth. The 30,106 fans in attendance went wild at the end of the two rounds.
“Overall I’m a pretty balanced guy, but this emotional spill kind of happens in some of these big situations,” Gibson said. “I don’t know if I could really imagine what that atmosphere would look like. It met or exceeded my every expectation and the enthusiasm I had in coming here.
Alec Bohm erred in the seventh, allowing the equalizer to reach the base of the Mets, but Hector Neris escaped unscathed.
Harper, who was greeted with “MVP” chants throughout the night, delivered a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Phillies some insurance points.
“Big spot, big time,” Harper said. “I ended up being a big homer before the ninth too.”
Ian Kennedy gave up a solo shot in the last frame, but wrapped things up to record his first save with the Phillies.
Both clubs resume the series on Saturday with Ranger Suarez on the mound for the Phillies. The Mets will counter with right-hander Tylor Megill.
The Phillies enter the division’s top Saturday for the first time since May.
“It’s better than the alternative,” said manager Joe Girardi. “It’s just a great atmosphere tonight. We want to keep building on this, but it’s a big win for us. “