PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Howard’s farewell game with the Philadelphia Phillies was filled with standing ovations and ended with a win.
Cesar Hernandez hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning, and the Phillies beat the playoff-bound New York Mets 5-2 on Sunday.
Howard, the last player remaining from the 2008 World Series championship team, was honored in a pregame ceremony. The Phillies are planning to pay Howard a $10 million buyout instead of exercising a $23 million club option for 2017.
“It’s amazing the appreciation from the organization and the fans,” Howard said. “To have it recognized, it’ll live with me forever.”
Howard, who turns 37 next month, thanked fans and the organization and saluted teammates in an emotional speech. The 2006 NL MVP choked up a few times and fought back tears when he told the crowd: “My family has grown with all of you.”
Howard was 0 for 4, but he received several standing ovations and got a curtain call after popping out in the eighth. He finished the season with a .196 batting average and hit 25 homers, tying Maikel Franco for the team lead.
Howard got a final ovation after Tommy Joseph replaced him to start the ninth. He embraced Joseph near first base while Phillies and Mets players clapped. Howard then walked through the dugout and hugged everyone before coming out to wave to fans.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Howard said. “Seeing the people and the videos, it hit me all at once. It was great. Philadelphia will always be home.”
Howard isn’t ready to call it a career, especially after a strong finish — he hit .267 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs in only 101 at-bats from Aug. 1 on.
“I know there’s more in the tank,” he said. “I’ll know when it’s time.”
The defending NL champion Mets clinched the top wild-card spot on Saturday and will play the Giants at Citi Field on Wednesday.
Manager Terry Collins gave most of his regulars a day off and ace Noah Syndergaard was pushed back to start the wild-card game.
“We’re really excited,” Collins said. “It’s great for the fans and our guys are pumped up.”
Mets starter Gabriel Ynoa allowed one run and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Defensive miscues cost New York in the seventh.
Andres Blanco started the inning against Erik Goeddel (2-2) with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored the tying run on a double error by first baseman Lucas Duda, who booted pinch hitter Cody Asche’s grounder and then threw it wild to first.
Hernandez ripped a single to right to make it 3-2 and Jimmy Paredes followed with a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.
Franco was 4 for 4, including an RBI single in the third that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
Colton Murray (1-1) pitched one inning in relief of Jerad Eickhoff to earn his first career win despite allowing a run. Hector Neris finished for his second save.
The Mets took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Kevin Plawecki lined a double to right-center. The ball initially froze center fielder Odubel Herrera, who couldn’t recover in time to track it down.
Matt Reynolds hit a double with two outs in the sixth and scored on Alejandro De Aza’s single to tie it at 1-1.
ONTO THE NEXT ONE
The Mets have won at least one series in each of their last four trips to the postseason.
Eickhoff gave up one run and four hits, striking out eight in six innings. He finished the season 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA.
The Phillies improved their win total from 63 in 2015 to 71. They have missed the postseason five straight seasons after winning the NL East title five consecutive years from 2007-11.
Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60 ERA) was 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in four postseason appearances last year, including three starts.