Sept. 19--Steven Matz took a page out of Jacob deGrom's book, trying to do it all himself.
That included a home run off Cy Young candidate Aaron Nola, which he even dedicated to deGrom, who will take any help he can get when it comes to his bid for the league's top pitching honor.
"I told him, that was for you, friend," Matz said.
But, as has so often been the case for Matz's rotation mate, it wasn't enough.
The Long Island lefty pitched five dominant innings, giving up just two hits and no runs, and he hit a solo home run in the third inning off Nola. It was Matz's second home run in as many games, after he hit his first career round tripper last week against the Marlins.
"I have no explanation for you there," a smiling Matz said of his sudden power surge at the plate.
The only other Mets pitchers to homer in back-to-back outings were Hall of Famer Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
But once Matz gave way to the bullpen, everything fell apart in the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Phillies. The lefty was only able to get through five innings because of a pitch count bloated by five walks. He left at 91 pitches, 54 for strikes, and manager Mickey Callaway opted to start the sixth with Jerry Blevins, who promptly walked and plunked the first two batters of the inning.
That was all for Blevins with the right-handed pinch hitter Wilson Ramos coming up, but Drew Smith, the next punching bag to exit the Mets' bullpen, didn't fare much better. He gave up three consecutive hits, the final blow being a towering three-run home run off the bat of Jorge Alfaro that put the Phillies up 5-2. Smith was unable to get out of the inning after giving up four hits and getting charged with three runs.
After a breakout night for the Mets' offense on Monday, the bats couldn't muster much against Nola, who is neck-in-neck with deGrom in the race for the National League's top pitching honor. Conforto was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, Amed Rosario was 0-for-5 with three Ks and the Mets fanned nine times against Nola. Matz's home run and an RBI double by Dominic Smith were the only real blemishes on the Phillies ace's night.
Nola finished the night with his ERA at 2.44, but at least the Mets' early runs off him prevented Nola from getting a win, which would have been his 17th of the season, compared to deGrom's eight.
-- With the Associated Press
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