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PHILADELPHIA — For a second, it looked like Seth Lugo had done just enough to escape the seventh inning while hanging onto the lead.
But Tomas Nido could not do the same for Lugo’s curveball in the dirt.
Scott Kingery struck out, but reached first on the wild pitch, which opened the door for Lugo to blow a second lead in as many appearances Wednesday before the Mets lost to the Phillies 5-4 in 10 innings. It was also the Mets’ 19th blown save of the season.
“It’s a tough hop,” Nido said. “That curveball takes a high spin rate. I tried to get around that one, and it’s unfortunate. I feel terrible because it’s not one of those I really miss a lot of times. Those are unfortunate. I felt like it was a big momentum change in the game. I talked to Lugo, that’s just kind of a weird hop, but I really did try to get around it. It just didn’t go my way.”
Lugo entered the game in relief of Jason Vargas in the seventh with one out, a man on second and the Mets leading 4-1. He immediately gave up a ground-rule double to Cesar Hernandez to make it 4-2. After getting Maikel Franco to fly out, Lugo walked pinch-hitter Brad Miller on a full count.
Kingery came up and got into a 1-2 count before whiffing at Lugo’s curveball in the dirt. But it hopped away and past Nido to the backstop, allowing Kingery to take first and load the bases.
Two pitches later, Jean Segura knocked a single to center field to tie the game at 4.
“I thought he threw pretty good pitches, to tell you the truth,” Mickey Callaway said. “We got the big strikeout, the ball just bounced away from us. We talked about a game of inches [Tuesday] night, it was another one today. We just couldn’t keep it in front. That would have ended the inning. … The pitch that Segura hit was off the plate and he went out and just poked it over the second baseman’s head.
“Even [Lugo] felt like he made a lot better pitches tonight. It just didn’t materialize for him.
Before blowing a 3-2 lead and taking a 5-3 loss Sunday in Chicago — which helped set off Callaway and Vargas’ postgame blowup with a reporter — Lugo had been dominant. He had gone eight straight appearances without giving up a run, and dating back further, he had posted a 0.38 ERA (one run in 23 ²/₃ innings) over his past 18 outings.
In Sunday’s loss, Lugo worked a scoreless seventh inning before giving up a three-run homer with one out in the eighth.