By Sam Bush

The New York Mets host the Phillies in the opening game of a three-game series tonight at Citi Field.

The Mets (7-6) dropped their third straight game when rookie J.T. Riddle hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Miami Marlins to a 4-2 victory.

The Phillies (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six games when Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Washington Nationals a 6-4 win.

Each of the Mets’ three weekend losses came in the Marlins’ final at-bat. Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory on Friday, and Christian Yelich (two-run blast) and Giancarlo Stanton hit consecutive homers in the eighth inning Saturday to spark a come-from-behind 5-4 win.

The difficult losses didn’t dampen the spirit of New York manager Terry Collins, who called a team meeting Sunday to ensure the Mets were as upbeat as he was.

“This is a good team, this is a good baseball team,” Collins said. “We have issues like everybody else, but we’re trying to mesh a pitching staff that we’ve got to be careful with and a bullpen we’ve got to be careful with. We’re going to be OK.”

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin voiced similar sentiments Sunday, having lost Friday’s series opener in walk-off fashion, when the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy laced an RBI double in the 10th inning to lift Washington to a 3-2 win.

“We’re just competing,” Mackanin said Sunday afternoon. “A lot has to do with the pitching.”

Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler is scheduled to oppose Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin.

It will be the third start of the season for Wheeler, who earned his first win in more than 2 1/2 years last Wednesday, when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 5-4 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2015 and pitched just one minor league inning due to various setbacks last season, so the Mets hope to limit him to 125 innings this year.

Eflin will be making his season debut after sliding into the rotation spot vacated by right-hander Clay Buchholz, who sustained a torn right flexor pronator mass while pitching against the Mets last Tuesday night. Eflin tossed two complete games as a rookie last season but didn’t exceed six innings in any of his other nine starts.

Wheeler (1-1, 7.45 ERA) is 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies. Eflin took the loss in his lone outing against the Mets last season, when he gave up three runs over six innings in New York’s 5-0 win on July 17.

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