The Mets could use much more of the magic that unfolded in the seventh, when Grady Sizemore dropped a routine fly ball to allow two runs to score. They could use more of the make-your-own-luck aggression that followed, when Eric Campbell swiped home on a double steal. And they could certainly use more of this type of result: a spirited 4-1 win over the Phillies.
"You take every gift you can get right now," manager Terry Collins said.
About the only thing that did not go swimmingly for the Mets was the debut of Herrera, their new 20-year-old second baseman, who finished 0-for-3 with a fielding error. But on a night when Jacob deGrom pitched brilliantly and the rest fell into place, that hardly seemed to matter.
Though the Mets would not have taken the lead without Sizemore's gaffe, it was deGrom who put them in position to take advantage of it. Returning to the form he displayed before going on the disabled list earlier this month, with his "location really good all night," deGrom took a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed just four hits -- all singles -- in seven innings. The only run against him was unearned, coming on Cody Asche's RBI single after a Lucas Duda throwing error.
That tied the game at 1, making the Mets' seventh-inning rally a critical one. After reliever Jake Diekman loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, the Phillies brought on Justin De Fratus to face Juan Lagares, who lifted a fly ball to shallow left-center field. Sizemore raced over, called off center fielder Ben Revere, settled under it ... and dropped it. Two runs came around to score.
"I just missed it," Sizemore said. "It doesn't get much worse than that. The guys played hard and I just happened to be a guy that let the team down, you know? That's all there really is to it."
Moments later, the Mets executed a perfect double steal, with Lagares drawing a throw from the catcher while Campbell used the diversion to scamper home. The crowd roared and the Mets -- for once -- smiled, clapping Campbell on the back in their dugout.
It was the first time the Mets scored at least three runs in an inning without a hit since July 1999.
"Right now, that's the type of break we need until we get it going offensively," Campbell said, after the music died down in the postgame clubhouse.
With a month left in the season, the Mets may never get it going offensively to the extent they once hoped. But they at least appear to be trending in the right direction with the personnel that they have.
On the night Herrera debuted, a quick glance at the Mets' lineup card was telling. All 12 Mets who appeared in the game -- from Lagares up top to deGrom on the mound to Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia in relief -- are likely to be here for the next few years, for better or for worse. The Mets have not always been able to say that this season, yet their club skews far younger than it did in April.
That's not to say the entire dozen will play major roles; the jury is still out on Matt den Dekker, Wilmer Flores and others as the Mets look to build a cohesive whole. But September is a time for scouting and development, and the Mets will receive long looks at Herrera, Flores and others down the stretch.
They feel they have potential here.
They're lucky, in that sense.
"That's a tribute to the organization," Collins said. "They're sticking by these guys. They're going to give them a chance. And yeah, we're going to have some ups and downs, but for the most part, the future's going to be brighter than it was two years ago."