Conforto, Granderson lead Mets past Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has a pretty simple motto when it comes to the curveball.
“You hang it, they bang it,” Mackanin said.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin learned that the hard way Sunday.
Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson each hit home runs on misplaced curveballs and the New York Mets topped the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 at Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets (53-62) took three of four from the Phillies (43-72).
Conforto’s two-run shot in the first inning opened the scoring and upped his career-high total to 26 for the year. It was his 12th homer since the All-Star break and 30 is right around the corner.
“I’ve still got to get there, but it’s exciting,” Conforto said.
“Two years ago, we thought he could hit 30 home runs,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We saw the power. What you’re seeing this year is the swing is so consistent. You can look at a guy who has a chance to hit 30 homers who wasn’t even in the lineup in April.”
Granderson was 3-for-5 on the day with the home run, a double, a run and three RBIs.
“We needed him today to step up and he did,” Collins said.
Mets starter Chris Flexen (2-1) earned the win despite not having his best command. Flexen lasted five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He walked four batters and struck out five.
Eflin (1-4) was handed the loss. The righty surrendered seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs, all coming on the pair of two-run shots from Conforto and Granderson, and struck out five.
“I threw the ball really well, had command of all five of my pitches,” Eflin said. “It’s unfortunate it’s one of those days that you get beat by two bad pitches.”
With the Mets ahead 2-1 in the fifth, Eflin sandwiched a Jose Reyes double with a pair of strikeouts to bring Granderson to the plate with two outs. On a 1-1 count, Eflin’s curveball got too much of the plate and Granderson sent the offering to right field for a three-run lead.
“Basically those pitches, if you hang them you’re going to get hurt,” Mackanin said. “If you make the pitch nobody says a word if you keep it down where it’s supposed to be.”
After the Phillies cut the deficit to 4-2, Granderson tallied a run-scoring single in the seventh to make it 5-2. He then scored on a Wilmer Flores RBI single.
The Phillies, who left nine runners on base on the day, loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning with no outs but only scraped across one run on a Rhys Hoskins RBI groundout, the first RBI of his career.
They loaded them again in the fifth with no outs. Nick Williams sent a fly ball to shallow center field that Conforto corralled and fired toward home. Freddy Galvis, on third base, did not run, but, inexplicably, Odubel Herrera -- whose mental mistakes have become common -- ran from second to an occupied third base and was tagged out. The double play allowed Flexen to get out of the inning without much trouble, though Galvis did cross the plate on a wild pitch.
“The mistake he made was he assumed that Freddy was going to go,” Mackanin said of Herrera’s blunder. “He saw him take off but then he put his head down. The only thing he did is he didn’t keep his head up. He just put his head down and ran to third.”
The Phillies tallied just one hit the rest of the way and were outhit 12-7.
NOTES: Philadelphia OF Odubel Herrera extended his career-long hit streak to 16 games with a single in the first inning. The streak is the longest by a Phillies player since 2014. ... After trading INF Neil Walker on Saturday night, the Mets selected the contract of RHP Kevin McGowan from Triple-A Las Vegas prior to the game Sunday to take Walker’s roster spot. ... The Phillies embark on a seven-game road trip to California starting Monday in San Diego. ... The Mets begin a four-game set with the Yankees (each team hosts two games) on Monday in the Bronx.