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Mets drop out of first place for first time since May 8 with loss to Phillies

All told, the Mets spent 90 days atop the NL East, their longest such stretch since 2007. But as they learned that season, first place only matters if they occupy it on the final day of the season.

In that regard, the Mets have plenty of work to do.

The Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Friday knocked them out of the division’s top spot for the first time since the morning of May 8, when they woke up a game back of the Phillies in the NL East. The Mets have now lost five of their last six games and seven of their last nine, transforming a four-game lead into a half-game deficit in less than a week. Their mathematical odds to make the postseason, according to FanGraphs projections, have fallen from 77.9 percent on July 28 to 43.0 percent on Friday morning.

Those odds will be lower still when the Mets wake up on Saturday, still nursing the wounds of another game in which they struggled to hit. Facing one of the Phillies’ top Trade Deadline acquisitions, Kyle Gibson, the Mets plated their first run on Dominic Smith’s RBI single in the third inning. But they did not score again until Jonathan Villar’s solo homer in the ninth despite loading the bases with no outs in the fourth, leaving eight men on base in total.

Marcus Stroman delivered five innings of two-run ball, becoming the 15th consecutive Mets starter to fail to record a win. Any designs on a comeback later evaporated when Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer off Edwin Díaz in the eighth.