NEW YORK (AP) — One of the best games the Mets have played all season came with hardly anyone in the stands to see it.
Robert Gsellman pitched well in a winning return from the minors and Travis d’Arnaud homered to help New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 Wednesday night in a series finale shortened to six innings because of rain.
By the looks of it, fewer than 1,000 fans were scattered throughout the ballpark on a dreary night at Citi Field — perfectly fitting for a pair of struggling teams playing out the string. The announced attendance was 19,617.
“When we started that game, I said, ‘We’ve got no way to get five innings in,'” New York manager Terry Collins said.
But the Mets and Phillies began right on time and played through light showers early that got heavy as the game wore on.
Asdrubal Cabrera went 3 for 3 with an RBI single and scored twice as the Mets improved to 37-17 against Philadelphia over the past three years. New York took two of three from the last-place Phillies and has won 18 of the last 21 series between the teams.
Nick Williams hit a two-run homer and Cesar Hernandez was 3 for 3 with an RBI double for the Phillies. They trailed 6-0 before scoring three in the sixth, but any hopes of completing the comeback were washed away when the game was called following a 57-minute delay with one out in the bottom half.
A foreboding forecast called for steady showers long into the night.
“I feel like the bats were starting to come alive,” Williams said.
An aggressive Gsellman (6-6) pitched out of trouble in the first and helped himself an inning later when he bounced an RBI single inside first base. The rookie right-hander, who allowed two earned runs and five hits, was credited with his first career complete game despite being pulled for a pinch-hitter just before the umpires stopped play.
“Every time you get sent down, it’s very eye-opening,” Gsellman said. “You learn a lot and you just come back a little hungrier and you’re just fighting out there, competing.”
Not long before he was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas late last month, Gsellman rankled Sandy Alderson when the pitcher responded to a reporter’s question about the general manager’s assessment of his rehab assignment with: “I don’t really care.”
“I hope that his little time in the minor leagues, even though it was brief, kind of got his attention a little bit,” Collins said before the game. “He’s all fired up about pitching tonight. Hopefully, we see the guy we saw last September.”
Brandon Nimmo had two sacrifice flies for the Mets, and Gsellman earned his first major league win since June 10 at Atlanta. He was on the disabled list from June 28 until Aug. 15 with a strained left hamstring.
Gsellman was called up Wednesday after the Mets decided against starting Matt Harvey on three days’ rest due to the wet forecast, according to Collins.
“I certainly saw a different guy on the mound,” the manager said. “I thought he pitched a great game.”
Cabrera hit an RBI single in the first and d’Arnaud went the other way to right-center for a two-run homer off rookie Nick Pivetta (5-10), who tossed seven innings of one-hit ball for a 7-1 win at Citi Field on July 2.
This time, Pivetta gave up 10 hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked none.
“Threw strikes but not quality strikes. Too many bad pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Two big-name Mets pitchers are on the mound Thursday night — one in Queens, the other in Brooklyn. Harvey starts at Citi Field against the Reds, his second outing since returning from a mid-June shoulder injury. The former ace was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in two innings Saturday at Houston, the shortest start of his career. New York teammate Noah Syndergaard makes a rehab start for Class A Brooklyn against the Staten Island Yankees. Syndergaard has been out since May 1 with a torn lat muscle but is expected back before the season ends.
Phillies: CF Odubel Herrera got a planned night off after extending his career-high hitting streak to 19 games Tuesday. Herrera came off the disabled list Monday — he had been sidelined by a strained left hamstring since Aug. 18. … OF Aaron Altherr was unable to test his right hamstring before the game because of the wet field.
Mets: Amed Rosario’s bruised right index finger remained swollen, and the rookie shortstop missed his third consecutive game. … INF Wilmer Flores (broken nose) sat out for the fourth straight game and will be re-examined Thursday. … All-Star OF Michael Conforto had surgery in Los Angeles to repair a tear in the posterior capsule in his left shoulder.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (10-10, 3.72 ERA) gets the ball Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at NL East-leading Washington. He is 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA in his last four starts after compiling a 1.71 ERA in his previous 10 outings.
Mets: Harvey is 4-4 with a 5.97 ERA in 14 starts and New York hopes to see signs that he can be effective next season. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five career starts against Cincinnati.
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