Final Score: Mets 2, Phillies 1
In the first game of arguably their biggest series of the season thus far, the Phillies were looking for — and counting on — a bounceback performance from Aaron Nola. In a season where the righty has seen plenty of ups and downs (maybe more downs), coming off the shortest start of his career, the Phillies desperately needed said bounceback performance.
Nola gave them one. He also gave them history. He even gave them an RBI.
The one thing the Phillies couldn’t give him back was a win.
A game that became historic by the middle innings as Nola tied the Major League record with 10 consecutive strikeouts turned sour in the bottom of the seventh and heartbreaking in the following inning. José Alvarado had the Phillies one out away from a key victory, but things fell apart when Francisco Lindor singled the tying run home. The Phillies’ offense put the team’s collective back against the wall by stranding the automatic runner in the eighth, and the Mets made them pay.
The Phillies drop to four games under .500 and six back of the first-place Mets. They’ve now lost four straight and seven of their last nine.
- Nola looked to be in serious trouble in the bottom of the first when a Jeff McNeil hit by pitch and Francisco Lindor double put runners on second and third with no outs. But Nola — with the help of a few nasty curveballs — struck out Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith to escape unscathed.
- Nola’s strikeout streak reached a career-high-tying six when he punched out the side in the second. He got James McCann on a sinker, Kevin Pillar on a changeup and Luis Guillorme on a curve. He followed it up by very nearly hitting his first career home run in the top of the third, but the ball landed just a few feet from the top of the left field wall for a long single.
- Strikeouts, strikeouts and more strikeouts for Nola in the third. He racked up another three straight to reach nine in a row, one away from tying the Major League record. His eighth consecutive K set a Phillies franchise record.
- Nola struck out Conforto again in the fourth to etch his name into the history books: His 10th consecutive strikeout tied Tom Seaver’s record, which the Hall of Famer set in 1970.
- Alonso, in a 1-2 count, prevented Nola from breaking the record by flicking a double just inside the right field foul line. Nola still had a tie game to preserve, and he did just that. He got Smith to ground out and punched out McCann for a season-high 11th strikeout.
- Nola had been dominating on the mound, but the Phillies were scoreless through 4 2/3 innings, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. He whacked a two-out opposite field double, his second hit of the game, to score Nick Maton from first and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
- Nola got McNeil swinging to end the fifth and pick up his career-high-tying 12th strikeout, a number he’s reached four times. It also allowed Nola to work around a leadoff error from Alec Bohm, his 10th of the season.
- After a hit by pitch, groundout and walk to start the sixth, Nola’s day was done with two on and one out. José Alvarado, who was named the Phillies’ new closer earlier Friday, came on in relief. Alvarado walked the first batter he faced to load the bases but beared down to strike out McCann and induce a fielder’s choice out from Pillar to end the frame and hold the lead.
- Alvarado stayed in to handle the seventh, and that’s where things got ugly. The first batter — Guillorme — hit a comebacker right to the lefty, who promptly sailed the throw to Hoskins and into foul territory, putting the leadoff batter on second perhaps with a little help from the sun. Then, after a strikeout and a groundout, Lindor rocketed a 104-mph single to center to tie the ballgame at one apiece.
- With Luke Williams starting the eighth inning on second base, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen all struck out to leave him there and give the Mets a golden opportunity to hand the Phillies a heartbreaking defeat.
- Hand the Phillies a heartbreaking defeat, they did. Smith grounded a single through the right side with no outs and two on in the 10th, allowing Conforto to score easily from second. It gave the Phillies a loss they won’t want to remember but might have a hard time forgetting.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Aaron Nola: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 SO, 99 pitches
Nola tied a 51-year-old consecutive strikeout record and also tied a personal career-high with 12. After the shortest start of his career Sunday in San Francisco, Nola had every one of his pitches working on Friday and was able to locate them practically wherever he wanted. Alvarado worked out of his jam in the sixth inning to keep his line scoreless and bring his ERA to 3.97.
Taijuan Walker: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 68 pitches
As historic and dominant as Nola was, Walker was no slouch himself — far from it, in fact. Had the Mets not needed to try to get something going offensively in the fifth given the seven-inning game, he likely would have gone deeper, and there was little to suggest he would’ve slowed down (especially because Nola wasn’t due up anytime soon). He made almost no mistakes aside from his counterpart’s two hits, keeping Phillies off balance with impressive fastball command and a healthy diet of offspeed.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Francisco Lindor
Smith could have gotten the nod here for his walk-off hit, as could’ve Seth Lugo for keeping the Phillies off the board with three strikeouts in the eighth. But neither of those things would’ve happened were it not for Lindor, whose game-tying single off the nasty-but-wild Alvarado extended the ballgame in the first place. Lindor also doubled in the first inning, the last batter before Nola’s historic streak began.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday, June 25 vs. New York Mets, doubleheader Game 2
- Citi Field
- MLB Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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