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Zack Wheeler does it all for the Mets as they beat the Phillies for the second straight night

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Wheeler drove in three runs and struck out 11 over 7 innings in the win.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies for the second time in as many games behind Zack Wheeler’s career night. While the Brooklyn Nets were busy getting eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers, the Mets jumped back into first place in the division by defeating Philadelphia’s baseball team. It was the also the team’s first shutout victory since Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.

In his 100th career start, Wheeler was in complete control on the mound with a fastball that routinely reached 100 miles per hour and a filthy slider that hit 94. After a one-out J.T. Realmuto single in the first inning, Wheeler recovered to strike out Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins to end the threat. Realmuto’s single was one of only five hits that Wheeler would allow on the evening.

After failing to score in the first, the Mets got on the board in the second. Zach Eflin, who had control issues all night, walked lead-off hitter Wilson Ramos, and Luis Guillorme singled to left with two outs to bring the pitcher up to the plate. Wheeler wasted no time in helping his own cause, as he jumped on a first-pitch slider that hung over the heart of the plate and roped a double to right field. The hit drove in both Ramos and Guillorme and proved to be all the offense the Mets would need. The Mets added a third run when Brandon Nimmo tapped a routine ground ball to second baseman Cesar Hernandez that found its way through his legs for an error, which brought Wheeler home.

Meanwhile, Wheeler was at his best on the mound. He struck out seven straight batters, including striking out the side on 15 pitches in the third inning. His streak ended in the fourth with a Maikel Franco two-out double. Hernandez followed with a single to left, but Franco was easily gunned down at the plate by left fielder Jeff McNeil for the team’s first outfield assist of 2019. This represented the only real threat of the game, as the Phillies would not come close to scoring again.

Wheeler ended the evening with a season-high 11 strikeouts—including nine of the first 13 batters he faced—while generating 15 swinging strikes in a brilliant effort. He threw 74 of his 105 pitches for strikes and did not walk a single batter. He continued his dominance against the Phillies at Citi Field, as he has not allowed more than three earned runs to the Phillies in any of his previous seven home starts against them. Dating back to last year, Wheeler has now allowed six hits or fewer in 16 straight appearances. He has also recorded three straight quality starts after beginning the year with two rough outings against the Nationals.

Wheeler also was not done at the plate, as he hit his first major league home run in the fourth inning. In the process, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to pick up two extra base hits and record ten-plus strikeouts in the same game. He also became the fifth pitcher to hit a home run while striking out ten or more in a game, joining Tom Seaver, Sid Fernandez, Shawn Estes, and Jacob deGrom. Wheeler also became the first pitcher in 2019 to throw a pitch at 100-plus miles-per-hour and hit a ball at 100-plus miles-per-hour.

The Mets added some offense late in the game to give Wheeler some breathing room. In the fifth, Todd Frazier connected on the Mets’ first grand slam of 2019 to double the team’s lead. The club loaded the bases again in the sixth and added their ninth run of the game on a Ramos single to drive home Juan Lagares. In addition to Wheeler’s multi-hit night, Michael Conforto and Robinson Cano each added two hits and scored one run apiece, with seven different Mets tallying a hit in the victory.

With Wheeler out of the game, Mickey Callaway turned to Luis Avilan, who struck out two batters in a perfect eight inning of work. With the final outcome all but decided, there was some unnecessary drama in the ninth inning. Jacob Rhame was called upon to close out the game and got Aaron Altherr to ground into a double play to erase an Andrew Knapp lead-off walk. With Hoskins at the plate, Rhame fired a fastball over Hoskins’s head, which led to the Phillies’ first baseman intensely staring down Rhame and both teams emptying out in front of their respective dugouts. The umpires warned both sides, and Rhame ended up walking Hoskins on a 3-2 fastball that also sailed well over his head. The right-hander recovered to retire Franco to close out the game.

While it was almost a perfect night of baseball for the Mets, Brandon Nimmo was forced to exit the game after the end of the third. The Mets are calling the injury a “left oblique twinge” and they specified that they removed him as a precaution. Still, it’s something that will be worth watching as the team returns to action tomorrow. It’s the second time this week that Nimmo was forced to exit a game with an injury.

The Mets will look to complete a sweep of the Phillies as the two teams face off tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field. Jason Vargas will take the mound for the Mets against hard-throwing Vince Velasquez.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Zack Wheeler (batter), 26.9% WPA, Zack Wheeler (pitcher), 20.2% WPA
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: 20.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: 29.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Zack Wheeler two-run double in the second inning, 21.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jeff McNeil flew out to end the second inning, -3.5% WPA