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Porcello goes six strong, but Mets fall to Phillies 5-3

Over the past two weeks, the Mets have discussed the remainder of the season with increasing tones of urgency. After a recent start, pitcher Rick Porcello acknowledged that in a 60-game season, teams have little choice but to rally faster and more furiously than they otherwise would.

“This is it,” manager Luis Rojas said before his team opened a critical four-game series against the Phillies, one of three National League East teams they’re chasing. “This is the most important game right here. And that’s how it’s got to go each day.”

With that as their backdrop, the Mets lost Friday’s opener, 5-3, at Citi Field, while experiencing many of the same issues that precipitated their slide into fourth place to begin with. During an eighth-inning Phillies rally that sealed the defeat, Dominic Smith committed a run-scoring error and Brad Brach hit Phil Gosselin with a pitch to force in another run, adding a layer of messiness to a game of significance for the Mets.

“Those mistakes come back and hurt us,” Rojas said. “Obviously, we’re not thinking that time is running out or anything like that, but we do have to play clean baseball. We’ve got to play good baseball.”

Porcello stuck the Mets in an early hole by allowing runs in the second and third innings, but he recovered to retire the final 11 batters he faced. That put the Mets in position to tie the score on Michael Conforto’s two-run homer in the fifth.