New York-An underreported development in the New York Mets' strong play for the last month has been the emergence of right hander Zack Wheeler. Wheeler has found a new gear over the last few weeks, entering today's start with the Philadelphia Phillies on a tear. Wheeler was 2-0 with a 1.41 ERA in his last five starts, and his good run continued today. Wheeler allowed two runs in 6.2 innings of work as the Mets (52-56) blew out the Phillies (47-61) 11-2.
Wheeler didn't have his best stuff today, as he allowed a lot of base runners in the first couple of innings. Wheeler got through the first four innings unscathed, but finally gave up a run in the fifth on an RBI double from Ryan Howard to put the Phillies up 1-0. The Mets answered right back in the bottom of the inning against Phillies' starter Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick (L, 5-11) loaded the bases with one out against Daniel Murphy when he uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Juan Lagares to score to tie the game. Murphy then added insult to injury by crushing a three run homer to left field to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.
Wheeler gave up a pinch hit home run to Jimmy Rollins to lead off the seventh inning, cutting the Mets' lead to 4-2. Wheeler would exit with a pair of lefties coming up in favor of Dana Eveland, but he had another strong game. Wheeler (W, 6-8) lasted 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four. Eveland had a rough go of it, walking Chase Utley and allowing him to steal second and advance to third on a passed ball by d'Arnaud. Eveland hit Ryan Howard to put the tying run on before being yanked in favor of Jeurys Familia, who got Marlon Byrd to ground out to leave the tying runs on base.
The Mets then went to work adding insurance runs for their bullpen. Curtis Granderson started off the inning with a ground rule double, and two batters later David Wright was intentionally walked so the Phillies could bring in Justin De Fratus to face Lucas Duda. Duda delivered an RBI single to make it 5-2, and Travis d'Arnaud followed with an RBI double to make it 6-2. Chris Young reached on an error by De Fratus to allow another run to cross the plate, making it 7-2. Ruben Tejada added an RBI single to make it 8-2, and Jeurys Familia even got in on the act with an RBI single of his own to make it 9-2. Duda would add a two run home run in the eighth to cap the scoring for the Mets.
Player of the Game:
Today's Player of the Game Award goes to Mets' starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Wheeler was clutch as he worked out of trouble for most of the afternoon, and finally got some run support to pick up a big win for the Mets.
Post Game Notes:
- Wheeler is now 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his last six starts.
- Every Mets' starter except David Wright recorded a hit as the Mets racked up 15 hits on the day.
- Duda's home run was his 19th of the season and his three RBI's gave him 60 on the year, both of which are career highs.
- Familia recorded his first career RBI in the seventh inning.
- Murphy, Lagares, and Tejada recorded three hits a piece.
- The Mets went 15-10 in July, their best July record since 2008.
The Mets are off tomorrow, putting the spotlight on General Manager Sandy Alderson in advance of tomorrow's 4:00 pm trade deadline. The Mets will be back in action Friday night as they kick off a four game series with the San Francisco Giants (57-50). Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) will be on the mound for the Mets, while the Giants will counter with righty Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 3.94 ERA). First pitch at Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm.
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