PHILADELPHIA — The sky was deep blue and empty for much of the morning, but the stars of the Mets still shone brightly.
The horses the Mets will rely on the most to carry them through this season and – they hope – beyond have carried them to another series win leading into the home opener.
The Mets got home runs from huge starting plays (Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo), plenty of help from the hot new outfielder (Starling Marte) and got a strong start from Max Scherzer for a 9-6 win ahead. 31,190 at a sunny Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.
By the time Alonso laid his second homer of the season over the right center field fence, a sixth-inning three-run shot, the Mets had the contest laughing.
A rally later in the Phillies’ inning ended the laughter, but the Mets (5-2) took two road series from their division rivals and headed to Citi Field for their home opener on Friday against the Diamondbacks.
Alonso, the biggest star of the afternoon, went 3 for 5 with five RBIs, leading the charge but with plenty of cavalry behind him. Nimmo threw his second dinger in as many days and hit base three out of five times, increasing his on-base percentage to .429.
Marte barely needed a bat to heavily influence the game. His 84th career outfield assist — but first from right field, where the Mets play him every day — helped Scherzer in the second, when Bryson Stott slapped Dominic Smith and on the first base line. Marte quickly reached the ball and fired a missile at second, Francisco Lindor applying the slap tag just in time.
His arm having already made the difference, Marte’s legs came next. He hit a single downfield in the fourth, then ran around base on a double from Alonso. Maybe Didi Gregorius didn’t expect Marte to come home, and the Phillies shortstop doubled up before his stint came in late.
The Mets finished with nine hits, only one of them (Tomas Nido’s) coming from the No. 6-9 spots in order. The Mets made the most of their best, including Eduardo Escobar, who reached base four times and tripled.
It all helped bolster Scherzer, who again wasn’t his best in his second career outing with the Mets, and again didn’t need to be.
After running through the bases loaded in the first inning – and engaging in a shouting game with plate umpire Adrian Johnson when several timeouts were called during a Nick Castellanos at bat – Scherzer hit Jean Segura and forced a withdrawal from Gregorius. He mostly sailed from there, finishing with five innings while allowing a run on five hits, those three walks and seven strikeouts.
The only run the Phillies engineered against Scherzer came in the fourth, when Stott lined up a thumb on Lindor’s glove to knock at Castellanos.
Scherzer has succeeded with more courage than enthusiasm so far, making two starts in which he totaled 11 innings that haven’t always been pretty. But the Mets — like any team that has started Scherzer for 15 straight starts — didn’t lose with Mad Max on the mound.
After his exit, the Phillies scored Mets bullpen Sean Reid-Foley and Joely Rodriguez, along with Adam Ottavino for four runs in the sixth and seventh. But Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz – whose only fault was giving up a home run to Bryce Harper – finished the job.
New York Post