After five futile innings against left-hander Steven Matz, the Phillies finally broke out for five runs in the sixth inning Tuesday against the Mets' bullpen.
Using extra men paid off for Gabe Kapler in the 5-2 win. A pinch-hit RBI single from Wilson Ramos and a pinch-hit RBI double from Justin Bour preceded Jorge Alfaro's three-run home run.
The moves resulted in J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery leaving midway through the game, but the Phillies are desperate for runs and wins. Kapler will continue to employ "every marginal advantage," as he puts it.
Some fans sneer at what they consider over-managing, but there's not much of a debate that Ramos is a better hitter than Crawford and Bour is a better hitter than Kingery. If Crawford and Kingery would have made outs to end that inning, many would be asking, "Why not go to Ramos or Bour there?"
Aaron Nola started but did not get a decision. He was pulled with two outs in the sixth as his pitch count rose above triple-digits.
Carlos Santana reached base all four times with two singles and two walks. He's up to .234/.358/.426 on the season.
The Phillies are 77-73. With the Braves' 8-1 loss to the Cardinals, the Phillies are 5½ games back in the NL East.
Nola chasing history
The month of September has reminded us that Nola is, indeed, human.
For the third time in four starts this month, Nola couldn't make it out of the sixth inning. He didn't pitch poorly but wasn't at his best, allowing two runs to the Mets over 5⅔ innings with nine strikeouts.
The Phils are 5-1 against the Mets this season when Nola starts and 2-10 when anyone else does.
Nola is up to 199⅓ innings on the season. His opponents are hitting .201. No Phillies pitcher in more than 100 years has pitched at least 200 innings in a season and held his opponents under .200.
"It speaks to durability," Kapler said. "Look, if you're the best option for your team, more times than not, the manager is going to give you the opportunity to take down an additional inning.
"Almost always, Nola feels like the best option to get the next three hitters out. Piling up 200 innings is a huge accomplishment."
Nola's next start, No. 32, will be this Sunday in Atlanta. He'll face the Braves in both of his remaining starts.
Hurt by his counterpart
Nola was taken deep by opposing pitcher Steven Matz, who homered for the second consecutive start.
It was the first home run Nola has allowed to a pitcher since his MLB debut back on July 21, 2015 against Tampa Bay's Nate Karns.
The homer came after Nola had retired seven of the first eight hitters, five via the punchout. It was the eighth homer Nola has allowed in his last four starts after giving up just eight in his previous 27 starts.
Matz walked five but shut the Phillies out over five innings.
The last Phillies-Mets game of 2018 is Wednesday evening at 6:05.
Zach Eflin (10-7, 4.26) opposes Noah Syndergaard (12-3, 3.26).
The Phillies have hit .348 vs. Syndergaard in three games this season. He has a 5.51 ERA against them.
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