Looking to build off of two consecutive wins at home against the Pirates, the Mets took the trip down to Philadelphia to start a series with the rival Phillies. Zack Wheeler, who was looking to right his inconsistencies, grabbed the ball for the Mets, while David Buchanan went for Philadelphia. Behind the strong pitching of Wheeler and the three relievers that followed him, the Mets earned a 4-1 victory to raise their record to 25-28.
Neither team got on the board in the first, despite both pitchers giving up a hit. Most impressive was Wheeler, who struck out three straight hitters after a Ben Revere lead-off hit.
The Mets put the pressure on Buchanan in the second with three singles in a row. Travis d’Arnaud in his first game back came up with a chance to give the Mets an early lead. He did just that, but probably not the way he intended to. He grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but it brought in Lucas Duda for the first run of the game.
Wheeler struck out three more in the next half, but not without trouble. Carlos Ruiz doubled to left and Cesar Hernandez followed with a hit that deflected off of Wheeler. He walked off the injury and finished the frame with a punchout of Buchanan.
In the fourth, the Mets tacked on to their lead, thanks to a bat that hasn’t contributed much in 2014. After a Curtis Granderson walk, Chris Young belted a two-run homer to left field to give the Amazin’s a 3-0 edge.
After Wheeler led off the fifth with a single, Hernandez playing at third had some trouble, making an error on a Juan Lagares would-be ground out, and then made an ill-advised throw to second on a slow hit ground ball by David Wright where Wheeler easily could have been forced out at third.
With the bases loaded the Mets added a fourth run courtesy of a Granderson walk. They could not add more on, though, as Duda struck out and Young flew out to left to end the inning.
The Phillies would go down in order in both the fifth and sixth, making it 13 straight batters that Wheeler retired.
With the Mets up four, there looked to be insurance on the way in the seventh when Lagares doubled down the line in left. But Daniel Murphy, Wright and Granderson each were retired to end the frame without a run.
Despite being at 100 pitches in the sixth, Terry Collins decided to leave in Wheeler on for the seventh. With Collins pushing his pitchers the last week or two, the move was not a total surprise. Wheeler did get Ryan Howard out, but former Met Marlon Byrd went deep off Wheeler, ending his night and cutting the lead to 4-1. That ended the right hander’s night, as Scott Rice was brought into the game after Wheeler pitched 6.1 innings.
Rice got Domonic Brown out with just one pitch, but was promptly removed for Vic Black. The hard-throwing righty fooled Ruiz on three pitches, including two nasty breaking balls, getting the strike out to end the seventh without further damage.
Black continued his strong showing in the eighth, setting the Phillies down in order.
The Mets had a chance with runners on first and second with one out in the ninth, but David Wright bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Up three in the bottom of the ninth, Jenrry Mejia came on to get the save for the Mets. The new closer blew right through the 2-3-4 hitters from the Phillies, striking all three out to close out the win.
Game two of the unusual five-game set with the Phillies starts tomorrow night at 7:05. Rafael Montero will make his fourth start and look to match his impressive outing he had last time out against the Diamondbacks. A.J. Burnett is set to pitch for Philadelphia.