Zach Eflin pitched seven solid innings, Scott Kingery hit a game-winning double, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 5-2 to avoid a sweep. The Phillies (70-65) now sit only 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL Wild Card spot.
The scoring started early in this one, as Pete Alonso ripped a home run against Zach Eflin in the first inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. The Phillies threated in the bottom of the inning against Mets starter Marcus Stroman after a leadoff double by Corey Dickerson, but a Rhys Hoskins single left him a dead duck at home plate to end the inning.
The Phillies tied things up in the second on a Brad Miller home run. Miller, who was a late addition to the starting lineup after Jean Segura was scratched, has hit a home run in each of his last two starts. Then, after Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley reached on a base hit and a walk, a two-out base hit by Dickerson gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
After allowing the first inning home run, Eflin settled down. He allowed only two base hits and three baserunners throughout the rest of his outing, and his only jam of the night came on a two on, two out situation in the fourth that he quickly escaped. He was effective for his second straight start after struggling greatly since mid-June, and allowed only one run in seven innings pitched.
Meanwhile, after struggling in the second inning, Stroman scattered four hits over the next four innings and kept the Phillies offense from adding to their lead. He remained in the game until the seventh, when he allowed a leadoff double to Adam Haseley and the Phillies called on Jay Bruce to pinch-hit for Eflin. The Phillies were unable to score in the inning, and the score stayed 2-1 into the eighth.
With Eflin out of the game, the Phillies called on Mike Morin to pitch the eighth inning. After allowing two quick baserunners while only getting one out, Kapler turned to closer Hector Neris to try for the five out save. Neris got his first batter, Jeff McNeil, to ground out into a fielders choice that ended with Rhys Hoskins throwing pinch-runner Rajai Davis out at home, but a wild pitch to Alonso allowed Brandon Nimmo to score from third and tie the game.
The game did not stay tied long, though. After Bryce Harper led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia walked Rhys Hoskins and Cesar Hernandez to load the bases for Scott Kingery with one out. Kingery delivered, lining a double into left-center field that cleared the bases and gave the Phillies a 5-2 lead. Neris came back in to pitch the ninth and retired the side, allowing the Phillies to hold on and avoid the sweep.
Despite the win, Gabe Kapler’s decision to remove Zach Eflin after only throwing 85 pitches will be questioned, especially after Morin and Neris blew the lead right after. It is important to note that this was only Eflin’s third game back as a starter after being moved to the bullpen in late July, and he has had struggles with fatigue this season.
This was a win that the Phillies absolutely needed. They were unable to capitalize on a Cubs loss yesterday, but did so today and somehow remain in the hunt for that second Wild Card spot. The schedule toughens up in September, and the Phillies will need to continue to step up with timely hitting in order to keep themselves from slipping away.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Zach Eflin was really bad for a couple months following an excellent start to the season, and his return to pitching well could be a key for the Phillies down the stretch. His line: 7 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 3 K
- Marcus Stroman hasn’t been great since being traded to the Mets, but he was really good tonight after struggling in the second inning. His line: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Scott Kingery
- Kingery has been the biggest surprise for the Phillies this year, and he continued that tonight with a double that saved the game and gave his team a much needed win. After struggling last year, Kingery has given the Phillies extra-base hits at a very high rate this season: https://twitter.com/jonnyheller/status/1168341866670174210?s=20
TicketIQ Next Game
- Sept. 2 at Great American Ballpark
- 2:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)