With back-to-back rainouts, the Phillies had plenty of time to mull over a historic defeat at the hands of the Mets on Thursday, but they were quick to turn things around on Sunday in the first game of their doubleheader against New York, putting up 11 hits en route to a 3-2 win over their division rivals. They did it against Max Scherzer, no less, handing him his first loss since May 30, 2021.
They had less success in the nightcap. Pete Alonso hit two home runs to put five runs on the board for the Mets, and the Phillies’ offense wasn’t able to respond, tallying only six hits, one run, and one walk. The Phillies went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They lost the second game, 6-1, and are now 12-16.
“Obviously when you win Game 1, winning Game 2 is there,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “[Chris] Bassitt threw pretty well. A lot of our guys had not seen him. And they were talking about how his fastball was getting on them a little bit. They just weren’t familiar with his stuff.”
“Any time you can try to get two from a team on a doubleheader game, it’s really tough to do,” said Bryce Harper. “But I think the game got away from us and we weren’t able to fight back and get the win. But being able to get one, go 1-1 today, that was big for us.”
Mother’s Day homer
Harper decided to celebrate Mother’s Day by launching a Scherzer fastball 390 feet to right-center field in the first inning of Game 1. As Harper crossed home plate and walked toward the dugout, he pointed to the camera and yelled, “I love you, Mom.”
Harper followed that up with an RBI single in the bottom of the third to score Kyle Schwarber. He went 2-for-4 in the first game of the doubleheader.
Entering the sixth inning of the first game, starter Kyle Gibson had allowed only two Mets players to reach base. He found some trouble in the sixth, allowing four hits and two earned runs, but avoided more damage by inducing a double-play ground ball from James McCann. Gibson ended his day by striking out Jeff McNeil with the tying run on second.
In all, Gibson pitched six innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs, and no walks, while striking out three. He was very efficient, throwing only 72 pitches, 48 of them strikes (for reference, Scherzer was at 101 pitches through six innings of work).
“Overall, I felt really good,” Gibson said. “I think for me it was trying to get away from the five walks, obviously. It just worked out today that the fastball, the four- and two-seam, and cutter turned out to be the pitches to throw. I think I might have thrown 10 or 11 off-speed all day. That wasn’t necessarily the plan going into it, but it was one of those things that we felt that was the pitch to stay with. I felt pretty good about it.”
Gibson now has a 1.93 ERA in his three starts at Citizens Bank Park this season.
Stott gets to Scherzer (again)
Rookie infielder Bryson Stott joked Saturday that facing Scherzer in his first game back on the Phillies’ active roster wouldn’t be ideal, but Stott may have been selling himself short a bit. Stott entered Sunday’s game with four hits, but two of them were off of Scherzer, during Stott’s first career multi-RBI game on April 13.
Stott added to that total on Sunday, hitting a single to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning of the opener.
Bullpen hangs on
The Phillies’ one-run lead over the Mets in innings six, seven, eight, and nine seemed tenuous at best, but the bullpen was able to hold it down in the first game.
Seranthony Dominguez came in for Gibson in the seventh, starting off his outing with two walks but following those walks with three straight strikeouts. Jose Alvarado came in for the eighth in a relatively unexciting outing, allowing a walk with two strikeouts and a groundout. Corey Knebel earned his fifth save of the season in the ninth, striking out two with zero walks to secure the win.
Mets turn tables
For as solid as the bullpen looked in the first game, it looked less solid in the nightcap. The Phillies opted for a bullpen game, starting things off with Cristopher Sánchez, who was the 27th man for Sunday’s doubleheader. Sánchez allowed only two hits in ⅓ innings, but one of those hits happened to be Alonso’s two-run home run. Sánchez struck out two and walked one, allowing two earned runs.
Right-handed reliever Nick Nelson, who came in after Sánchez, had a similar outing. He allowed four hits over 2⅔ innings, but one of those pitches was a fastball right down the middle of the plate to Alonso, who promptly sent it straight to the left-field stands in the top of the fifth inning for a three-run home run.
“I felt pretty good about Nelly still,” Girardi said. “There’s a situation he gets behind 2-0. He just made a bad pitch.”
Andrew Bellatti, who replaced Nelson in the top of the sixth, threw a wild pitch that scored J.D. Davis to make it 6-1.
Connor Brogdon, who was called up before the game, walked two and struck out one in an inning of work in the seventh, allowing no earned runs, but was hitting 93 and 94 mph on the radar gun. Brogdon, who typically is in the 96-97-mph range, had been pitching at triple-A Lehigh Valley in an attempt to build arm strength. It appears that the Phillies will have to wait a bit longer for him to post the velocity he did last season — assuming those numbers come back.
Brad Hand came in for the eighth inning with a strong outing, allowing no hits and no earned runs with two strikeouts in an inning of work. James Norwood, who allowed four earned runs in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s loss to the Mets, had a one-two-three inning in the ninth on Sunday.
Hoskins up and down
Entering the second game, Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins hadn’t recorded a hit in his last 10 at-bats. He snapped that streak with a hard-hit double in bottom of the sixth that looked like it almost went of the park.
An inning later, Hoskins snapped another streak — games without an error — by fumbling a ball that was hit to him by Francisco Lindor. Hoskins hadn’t committed an error since April 8.
The Phillies take on the Mariners in Seattle on Monday in game one of a three-game series. The opener will start at 9:40 p.m. Monday. Then the Phillies fly to Los Angeles to play a four-game set against the Dodgers.
“We’re playing two good teams,” said Harper. “We need to go out there and play our game. Just understand we need to go out there and win. It’s a tough Seattle team and of course, L.A. Take it one game at a time, one series at a time, and go from there.”