Zack Wheeler had his shortest outing in more than two months but continued building a National League Cy Young Award case Friday night, when he won his fourth straight start as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the host New York Mets, 4-3.
Didi Gregorius’ two-out RBI double in the eighth inning proved to be the difference for the Phillies (75-72), who earned their third straight win to ensure they’d remain no more than 2 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the race for the second National League wild card and three games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
A fourth straight loss dimmed the already flickering playoff hopes for the Mets (72-76), who entered Friday five games behind the Cardinals and 5 1/2 games behind the Braves.
Wheeler (14-9) allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out six over five innings — the first time he’s lasted fewer than six innings since July 7.
The 31-year-old right-hander, who spent his first seven seasons with the Mets, beat his former team for the third straight time this season — allowing just one run and 10 hits in 21 innings in those outings.
Wheeler is tied for third in the NL in wins and ranks sixth in ERA at 2.83. He also became the first big leaguer to reach 200 innings this season and ranks second in baseball in strikeouts with 231.
Freddy Galvis staked Wheeler to an early lead with a second-inning sacrifice fly. Wheeler didn’t allow a baserunner until he plunked opposing pitcher Taijuan Walker with two outs in the third and didn’t give up a hit until Brandon Nimmo singled leading off the fourth. The Mets loaded the bases with one out but scored just one run — on an RBI single by Javier Baez — before Wheeler retired Jeff McNeil and James McCann on liners to strand three.
Brad Miller gave the Phillies the lead for good with a one-out homer off Walker in the fifth, his 19th. Matt Vierling lofted a sacrifice fly in the seventh before Gregorius’ RBI in the eighth.
The Mets rallied in the bottom half against Archie Bradley, who gave up three doubles, including RBI hits to Michael Conforto and Kevin Pillar. Ian Kennedy struck out McCann to escape the jam before tossing a 1-2-3 ninth for his 23rd save.
Walker (7-10) allowed two runs on three hits and no walks while striking out three in five innings.
–Field Level Media