After being blown out in Game 1 and holding on to win Game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader, the Phillies won Friday night's game against the Mets in the first inning.
They ambushed Noah Syndergaard for three runs in the first, which was all Aaron Nola needed in a 4-2 win.
Nola has been literally unbeatable this season when given a bit of run support — he's 13-0 with a 2.20 ERA when the Phillies score at least three runs.
The Phils had little trouble with Syndergaard's high-90s fastball in the opening frame, swinging and missing just once in his 21 pitches. The three first-inning runs were more than Syndergaard had allowed in his last nine first-innings combined.
For the Phillies, this was a quality win against a top-tier pitcher and a good sign for their upcoming games against fellow stingy right-handers Jacob deGrom (Saturday), Stephen Strasburg (Tuesday) and Max Scherzer (Thursday).
With the win, the Phillies are 68-54 with 40 games left. They're on pace to go 90-72.
Running at will
The Phillies' game plan was to run early and often against Syndergaard, who takes forever to deliver the ball with men on base. The Phillies stole five bases off Syndergaard — Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, Jorge Alfaro twice and Carlos Santana — and started the runner from first on two other occasions.
It's the right thing to do against Syndergaard, who has allowed 89 steals on 103 attempts in his MLB career.
They were the first two steals of Alfaro's career and Franco's third. It was Santana's second as a Phillie.
Syndergaard had averaged about 14 pitches per inning over his last five starts. In this one, he threw 115 pitches in 5⅔ innings, an average of more than 20 per frame.
Inside Nola's start
Prior to Friday's game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler downplayed a New York reporter's question about whether it upsets him that Nola doesn't get as much national Cy Young attention as Scherzer or deGrom. A few hours later, Nola went out and pitched yet again like a Cy Young winner.
The crazy thing was that this was far from Nola's best night, especially from a control standpoint in the middle innings. And yet, the line still read: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K.
Nola is 14-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 25 starts. It is the exact same ERA Roy Halladay had through 25 starts in his Cy Young season of 2010.
He has allowed just four home runs in 12 home starts this season. Since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, the only pitcher to allow fewer than five home runs in double-digit starts at CBP was Halladay in 2011.
Pat Neshek worked a scoreless ninth for his third save. The Phillies are trying to limit the number of times Seranthony Dominguez pitches on consecutive nights.
Quinn starts again
Roman Quinn started in center field for the second straight game. While Kapler won't indicate whether to expect more starts moving forward for Quinn over the slumping Odubel Herrera, it seems like a safe bet that if Quinn continues to produce in all three phases, he'll continue to play.
Friday night, he hit his first career big-league triple on a deep fly ball to left-center that Austin Jackson couldn't snare. The ball caromed off the wall and if it wasn't played perfectly by leftfielder Jack Reinheimer, Quinn could have had an inside-the-park home run.
More on the Quinn-Herrera situation here (see story).
Cesar coming around
Hernandez's on-base percentage has been below .360 one day all season. In that regard, he's done his job as a leadoff hitter.
But entering Friday's game, he was hitting just .258, 36 points lower than his batting average the last two seasons.
After a prolonged period without driving the ball, Hernandez has looked good the last two nights, going 4 for 8 with a double, a walk, two steals and four runs scored.
He has a stolen base in back-to-back games after stealing just one in his previous 38 games.
Another big-time pitching matchup is on tap for Saturday. It's Jake Arrieta (9-7, 3.33) vs. deGrom (7-7, 1.81).
On Sunday, Nick Pivetta (7-9, 4.37) faces veteran lefty Jason Vargas (2-8, 8.10).