Rapid Reaction: Phillies 7, Mets 5

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets lost a couple of key players to injury on Wednesday. Then they squandered a five-run lead and lost a second straight game to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yoenis Cespedes departed in the third inning of the Mets’ eventual 7-5 loss to the Phillies after getting struck on the left hand by a pitch from Justin De Fratus. X-rays were negative, and Cespedes was diagnosed with bruises to his left middle and ring fingers.

An inning later, Wilmer Flores departed the game for a pinch runner after experiencing lower-back stiffness.

The Mets (89-69) had their lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for home-field advantage in the division series whittled to a half-game pending the outcome of the NL West champion Dodgers’ game Wednesday night at San Francisco.

Having lost the first two games at Citizens Bank Park, the Mets’ streak of series wins against the Phillies has been snapped at a franchise-record nine straight.

Things got heated.

After Cespedes and replacement Kirk Nieuwenhuis both were hit by pitches in a three-inning span, Logan Verrett responded by drilling Odubel Herrera in the back with a pitch in the fifth inning.

Tensions escalated in the sixth. Hansel Robles was ejected by plate umpire Bob Davidson for throwing a 94-mph offering -- intentional or not -- in the direction of Cameron Rupp's head. The benches cleared, although hostilities subsided without any physical altercation. Manager Terry Collins also was ejected.

Robles had caused a stir during the Mets’ visit to Philly last month, when he threw a quick pitch when Darin Ruf was not looking. That time, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa exploded in anger.

After Robles departed on Wednesday, Bobby Parnell ultimately allowed a two-run single to Freddy Galvis in the frame as the Phillies pulled even at 5-5. Carlos Torres, the fourth pitcher of the sixth inning, then uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch as the Phillies turned a one-time 5-0 deficit into a 6-5 lead. Tyler Clippard also tossed a run-scoring wild pitch as Philadelphia took a two-run lead in the eighth.

Work in progress: Jonathon Niese’s introduction to the bullpen is off to a slow start. Working for a second straight day for the first time in his major league career, Niese inherited a pair of baserunners with two outs in the fifth. He proceeded to surrender a run-scoring single to lefty-hitting Cody Asche as the Phillies moved within 5-3. Niese then recorded the inning’s final out. A day earlier, Niese was charged with one run on three hits in 1⅔ innings in his first relief action since 2011.

After the runner inherited by Niese scored on Wednesday, Verrett was charged with three runs in five innings. Verrett had been staked to a 5-0 lead before taking the mound thanks to a three-run homer by Daniel Murphy and two-run homer by Michael Conforto in the first that knocked out rookie Alec Asher. Verrett received the final-week start so Niese could get comfortable in the bullpen.

He’s back: In his first appearance since suffering a groin injury on Sept. 15, left-hander Dario Alvarez entered in the sixth with the score tied at 5-5 and one out. He coaxed a pop-out from Herrera, but then hit Aaron Altherr in the foot with a pitch and was pulled.

What’s next: With Steven Matz scratched because of continued upper-back stiffness, the Mets will send Sean Gilmartin or Tim Stauffer to the mound in Thursday’s 12:05 p.m. ET series finale. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (2-3, 3.07 ERA) starts for the Phillies. The game originally was scheduled for the evening, but was moved up seven hours to try to avoid inclement weather.