The Phillies’ streak of spectacular starting pitching continued on Friday night.
So did Odubel Herrera’s spectacular on-base streak.
But the Phillies suffered an excruciating 3-1 loss to the New York Mets after closer Hector Neris melted down and allowed a pair of home runs with one out in the top of the ninth inning.
It was Neris’ second ugly blown save in less than a week. Without the two blown saves, the Phillies (22-16) would be looking at a seven-game winning streak (see story).
Jake Arrieta pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead thanks to Herrera’s solo homer in the first. The homer improved his on-base streak to 40 games. He leads the NL with a .360 batting average.
Neris came on with a 1-0 lead in the ninth. He retired Adrian Gonzalez for the first out then allowed a booming two-run homer to right to Michael Conforto on a 1-2 fastball. Two pitches earlier, Conforto nearly homered on a splitter. The ball went just foul. Devin Mesoraco followed Conforto's homer by hammering a first-pitch slider over the left-field wall to make it a 3-1 game.
Neris was booed lustily after giving up both homers and again after the third out.
Jeurys Familia came on in the bottom of the ninth and saved it for the Mets, who are 41-17 at Citizens Bank Park since 2012 and 41-19 overall against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season.
With Arrieta's 7 1/3 scoreless innings, Phillies starting pitchers have allowed just four runs in 32 innings and struck out 45 over five games on this homestand.
The streak of strong starting pitching actually goes back seven games. Over that span, the starters have allowed just six runs in 43 innings. The team is 5-2 over that span, both of the losses coming when Neris could not hold a lead in the ninth.
Arrieta has a 2.59 ERA in seven starts. He has allowed one run in 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts.
The 32-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and two walks. He struck out five and threw 101 pitches.
One of Arrieta’s last throws was a beauty — a perfect pickoff throw to first baseman Carlos Santana to get Jose Reyes and end the top of the seventh. It was the fourth time a Phillies pitcher has picked a runner off first base in the last 10 games. Aaron Nola has done it twice and Zach Eflin and Arrieta once each. Santana has been on the receiving end of all four pickoffs. The guy has exceptionally quick hands.
• Pitcher Mark Leiter Jr., on the DL with a right forearm strain, is slated to pitch 2 1/3 innings at Single A Clearwater on Saturday. Jerad Eickhoff, recovering from a lat strain, is scheduled for three innings or 50 pitches for Clearwater on Monday.
• Pitching coach Rick Kranitz was excused from the game to attend his daughter’s graduation. Assistant pitching coach Chris Young handled pitching coach duties and Sam Fuld was in uniform on the bench. Fuld is the team’s player information coordinator and also works with outfielders during pregame workouts.