Both the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets concluded Saturday night feeling fortunate.
The Phillies were feeling pleased because their 5-0 win gained a game on the Chicago Cubs, while the Mets were satisfied that a tough loss did not drop them any further in the wild-card chase.
The NL East rivals will hope to gain some ground Sunday afternoon when the Phillies visit the Mets in the finale of their season series.
Philadelphia (73-68) leads the season series 11-7 after Cesar Hernandez homered and had an RBI single. J.T. Realmuto had an RBI single and Corey Dickerson hit a two-run double to back seven strong innings by Drew Smyly.
Those hits and Smyly's outing helped the Phillies move to within three games of the Cubs after losing three straight before Saturday. Philadelphia is tied with Milwaukee and also trails the surging Arizona Diamondbacks by 1 1/2 games.
"I think we know that we've been written off, and we don't care," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "We're going to keep fighting."
The Phillies were without Bryce Harper on Saturday but that was a precautionary measure after he was hit on the hand Friday. He is day to day.
A 15-1 surge turned the Mets (72-69) from well under .500 to back in the race. Starting with a 7-4 loss to Washington on Aug. 9, New York is 13-17.
New York's fade started with six straight home losses Aug. 23-29 in a stretch that ended with them getting swept by the Cubs.
The Mets are 5-9 in their last 14 games and are hoping to rebound after getting blanked for the first time at home since May 1.
Rookie Pete Alonso had hits in his first two at-bats to reach safely for the 32nd straight game. He is hitting.313 (40-for-128) with 11 homers and 30 RBI during the streak.
Alonso and the Mets will be hoping to rebound after going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"We need to win these games in order to be in the playoffs," Alonso said. "They're fighting for the same thing over there and there's a bunch of other teams chasing that same spot. We just need to bear down, and tomorrow's a great day for that.
"Not all is lost. We've been playing really good baseball, and if we take the series, I think we would be in a really good spot going into the next one. At this point of the year, we're trying to win series and sweep if possible, but the sweep isn't an option. So it's a good time to win a series on Sunday."
After getting a rough start from Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 3.97 ERA), who is coming off two drastically different starts, pitches for the Mets. He allowed 10 runs to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 28 but rebounded nicely by allowing three hits with 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of Monday's 7-3 win at Washington.
Syndergaard is 6-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 career starts against Philadelphia.
Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.80) starts for Philadelphia and is 4-2 with a 5.02 ERA in his last nine starts. He last pitched Tuesday in a 6-2 win at Cincinnati when he allowed one run on four hits in three innings and did not get a decision.
Velasquez is 2-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mets.
--Field Level Media
Mets ready to close season series with visiting Phillies