Mets split doubleheader with Phillies


The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Aaron Nola was an All-Star in every facet of the game Monday.

The ace right-hander allowed one hit in seven shutout innings and lashed a three-run double that sent the Philadelphia Phillies past the New York Mets 3-1 for a split of their twinight doubleheader.

One night after being named to his first All-Star team, Nola (12-2) struck out 10 and won his sixth straight decision to become the only 12-game winner in the National League. With his teammates scuffling at the plate, he took care of the offense himself by doubling his career RBI total in the fifth.

So, was Nola more proud of his pitching or his clutch hit?

“I guess the seven innings on the mound, but more shocked about the bases-clearing double,” he said. “I definitely wanted to win a little more today.”

In the opener, Wilmer Flores provided another walk-off win when he connected for a pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the 10th to give New York a 4-3 victory.

The teams combined for just four hits in the nightcap, two by Flores. After Flores’ RBI double off Tommy Hunter with two outs in the ninth, Victor Arano struck out pinch-hitter Devin Mesoraco with runners at the corners for his third save .

Arano served up Flores’ decisive homer in the first game.

Philadelphia, tied with Atlanta atop the NL East, won for the ninth time in 12 games. New York has lost 18 of its past 22 at home.

Mets rookie starter Corey Oswalt (0-2) retired his first 12 batters, striking out six, before running into trouble in the fifth. He issued consecutive walks on full-count pitches to begin the inning, then got two outs before Maikel Franco was intentionally walked to load the bases.

“He just kind of lost command there for a second,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.

Nola lined the next pitch the other way down the right-field line for his second career extra-base hit, giving him six RBIs in the majors and exciting some giddy teammates in the dugout.

“Yeah, I could hear them,” Nola said. “They were probably shocked, too.”

Before that swing, he was 2 for 35 at the plate this year and an .066 lifetime hitter in the big leagues.

“I didn’t think he was going to throw me a first-pitch heater, and he did,” Nola said. “Put all the joking aside, I was just trying to put a good swing on it.”

On the mound, Nola matched his major league high for wins. He reached double digits in strikeouts for the sixth time in his career and fourth this season. He hasn’t lost since May 20 at St. Louis.

After a two-out single by Flores in the first, Nola retired 18 consecutive batters before Michael Conforto walked in the seventh. Those were the only two baserunners to reach against Nola, the lone All-Star selected from the Phillies.

“I’m really glad he’s on our team,” outfielder Rhys Hoskins said. “Nobody more deserving.”

The opener was a makeup of an April 2 game postponed by snow.

Flores led off the 10th and nearly reached safely on a hit by pitch. In fact, he contended the ball grazed his arm and he started toward first base. When plate umpire Tom Hallion called ball three, Flores motioned toward the New York dugout to request a replay review.

“It did hit him. We saw it on the replay and then I just talked to him,” Mets starter Zack Wheeler said with a chuckle. “Glad they didn’t overturn it.”

The ruling stood following the review — but Flores did one better. He drove the next delivery from Arano (1-1) off the screen attached to the left-field foul pole for his fourth career game-ending homer and second this season.

“It’s almost getting to the point where you expect it,” Wheeler said. “I know when the game’s on the line, that’s the guy you want to have up there.”

That gave Flores four of New York’s five walk-off RBIs this year and 10 in his career, three more than anyone else in the majors since 2014 and one better than David Wright for the most in Mets history. Flores’ four game-ending homers are tied for the team record.

“I can’t tell you why. I don’t know. All I know is that I got in a good hitter’s count and I got the pitch I was looking for. I was being aggressive so I can hit one out of the ballpark,” Flores said. “I’ll tell you though, this time I was thinking about a walk-off, because I know that everybody was.”

Flores started at second base and batted third in the nightcap.

Asdrubal Cabrera also homered for New York in the first game and hit an RBI double off the top of the right-center fence.

Franco homered and Nick Williams had three hits for the Phillies, who stranded 12 and went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

“We didn’t get the big hit in the big moment,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’ve had that happen from time to time.”

Tim Peterson (2-1) pitched out of trouble in the 10th, and Robert Gsellman escaped a big jam in the eighth for the Mets.

Despite pitching pretty well lately, Wheeler is 0-5 in 13 starts since his last win April 29 at San Diego.

That’s the longest stretch without a victory for a Mets starter since 1998.

Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin gave up three runs in five innings. He was 6-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his previous six starts.

By Paul Wager

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