Bruce carries Mets past Phillies
NEW YORK -- They’re saying “Bruuuuce” now at Citi Field, not “booooo.”
Jay Bruce continued his resurgence Wednesday night, when the New York Mets right fielder accounted for his team’s entire offense by hitting two homers -- a three-run shot in the sixth and a tiebreaking two-run blast in the eighth -- to lift the Mets to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Mets (8-7), who scored just 10 runs during the skid.
“We needed it -- we need to get going,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
There is little doubt Bruce has finally gotten going for the Mets. The five RBIs tied a career high (set five times previously) for the 30-year-old, who has six homers and 14 RBIs in his first 15 games of the season after collecting just eight homers and 19 RBIs in 50 games for New York last year following his acquisition from the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 1.
The rough couple of months turned Bruce into a popular boo-bird target for a demanding fan base and seemed to make him the most likely candidate among the Mets’ four starting-caliber outfielders to be traded in the offseason. But Bruce remained in New York, where the fans that once booed him asked and received a curtain call following the eighth-inning homer.
“It’s great, it really is great,” Bruce said. “It was good to be a huge part of that tonight and to get a win for us coming off a tough four-game kind of a skid. It’s important because things haven’t been going our way and tonight we got the bounce we needed.”
The Mets trailed 2-0 with two outs in the sixth before Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Yoenis Cespedes worked a walk to set up Bruce’s three-run homer to right off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez.
The Phillies tied the score in the eighth, when Aaron Altherr blooped a leadoff double against Mets starter Robert Gsellman and eventually scored on a two-out single by Michael Saunders off left-hander Jerry Blevins.
Cespedes led off the bottom of the inning against Edubray Ramos (0-2) with a single. Two pitches later, Bruce homered just beyond the right-field wall to cap the 22nd multi-homer game of his career and earn his first New York curtain call.
Bruce also earned another perk after the game, when he was given the crown for the Mets award to their most valuable player in a win as well as a blue-and-orange robe that made him look like a flamboyant boxer.
“I haven’t done much boxing in my life,” Bruce said with a grin. “It’s silk. They give it to me, I’ll wear it.”
Hansel Robles (3-0) got the final out of the eighth and Addison Reed earned his fourth save despite allowing a run in the ninth, when Freddy Galvis tripled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Daniel Nava.
Gsellman, who became the first Mets pitcher this season to pitch into the eighth inning, allowed three runs, six hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Maikel Franco had an RBI groundout in the fourth and Velasquez delivered a run-scoring single in the fifth for the Phillies (5-9), who have lost six of eight. Saunders and Galvis each had two hits.
“You get the two-run lead, and as well as Vinnie was pitching it was encouraging,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said “But you kind of knew, especially with these guys who can hit the home run, (that) you’d like to add on three or four more runs.”
Velasquez gave up three runs, five hits and three walks while striking out two in six innings.
“Bruce is just a mistake hitter -- you make one mistake, he can turn it around,” Velasquez said. “I‘m not going to do that again. But I could have eliminated it if I had gotten out Cabrera or gotten out Cespedes without walking him. So that’s on my part.”
NOTES: Mets 1B Lucas Duda (hyperextended left elbow) and C Travis d‘Arnaud (right wrist contusion) each left with injuries suffered during a two at-bat span in the top of the fifth. Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez clipped Duda’s arm while Duda prepared to field a throw from RHP Robert Gsellman. D‘Arnaud banged his hand on the bat of Phillies LF Aaron Altherr as he finished his follow-through on a throw to second base. Manager Terry Collins said both players are day-to-day. ... The Phillies recalled RHP Ben Lively from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and placed RHP Pat Neshek on the paternity leave list. Neshek can be away from the team for up to three days to be with his wife, who is giving birth to the couple’s second child.