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Morning Briefing: Mets get some breathing room in wild-card race

NEW YORK -- And now it is Sean Gilmartin's turn as the New York Mets’ unheralded backups continue to keep them afloat.

With Noah Syndergaard scratched because of strep throat, Gilmartin is set to become the 12th starting pitcher the Mets have used this season. Gilmartin (0-0, 4.76 ERA) opposes Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Alec Asher (1-0, 2.16) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field.

Gilmartin has not thrown more than 18 pitches in an appearance since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas on Aug. 25. As a result, his appearance may be brief.

With eight games remaining, the Mets now own a one-game lead on the San Francisco Giants and have a 1½-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card standings.

SATURDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Michael Conforto launched a three-run homer and Hansel Robles recorded the final eight outs for his first career save as the Mets beat the Phillies, 10-5, Friday. Terry Collins indicated that he intends to start Conforto again Saturday as Jay Bruce gets further buried on the bench. Collins yanked Gabriel Ynoa after two innings and pieced together the victory with six relievers. Asdrubal Cabrera departed the game in the eighth after earlier fouling a ball off the area just below his right knee. Collins said Cabrera would not have left the game, even though the area was sore, had the Mets not opened a five-run lead. The manager said he likely would give Cabrera off Saturday. But Cabrera, who is perhaps the biggest gamer on the team, said he did not intend to sit. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Collins hopes Syndergaard returns to the rotation no later than Tuesday, which would allow for two more regular-season starts if the Mets need to win those games. That would disrupt Syndergaard’s availability for a wild-card game. But Collins noted the Mets need to worry about qualifying before lining people up. If the Mets have clinched with games remaining in the regular season, Syndergaard or Bartolo Colon could be saved for the Oct. 5 wild-card game. Read more from columnist David Lennon in Newsday and news recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record writes about the overtaxed back end of the bullpen: “[Jeurys] Familia and [Addison] Reed will have all winter to rest.”

  • From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear celebrates the contributions of “the three amigos.” ... Mets Report sees Conforto getting back in the mix.

BIRTHDAYS: Hubie Brooks turns 60. ... Bernard Gilkey is 50.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Would you rather the Mets host the Giants or the Cardinals in a wild-card game?