NEW YORK – An important bat in the Phillies’ lineup woke up Friday night and lifted the team to an important win.
Slumping Rhys Hoskins clubbed a tie-breaking home run in the top of the eighth inning to help propel the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets in the first of a three-game series at Citi Field.
Hoskins had been in an 0-for-14 skid before the home run and he was just 2 for his previous 30. The home run was his team-best 28th and it made a winner out of Aaron Nola, who allowed just three runs over seven innings.
Nola is 16-4 with a 2.29 ERA.
The Phillies entered the night 3½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves were playing a late game in Arizona.
Another Nola gem
Nola is 8-1 with a 1.94 ERA after a Phillies’ loss this season.
The right-hander allowed just three hits and a walk. He struck out eight.
However, two of the hits that Nola allowed were home runs, including a game-tying solo shot by Dominic Smith in the bottom of the seventh.
Nola has been mostly brilliant at keeping the ball in the yard this season. He allowed just eight homers in his first 27 starts. He has given up five in his last two.
Hoskins’ big hit
Hoskins’ go-ahead homer came on a 1-2 fastball – 97 mph — from Tyler Bashlor. Hoskins fell behind, 0-2, in the count but stayed alive before launching the game’s biggest hit over the wall in left.
Good bullpen work
After Hoskins gave the Phils the lead, Gabe Kapler went to his bullpen. Seranthony Dominguez delivered a 1-2-3 eighth. Tommy Hunter got the save. Hunter has not allowed a run in his last 5 2/3 innings.
Kapler loaded his lineup with switch-hitters and right-handed bats against lefty Steven Matz. One of those switch-hitters, Carlos Santana, belted a two-run homer in the third inning. Right-handed hitters Aaron Altherr and Jose Bautista started in center and right field, respectively, and batted in the No. 3 and 4 spots in the order.
Matz ran a high pitch count and exited after five innings. The Mets brought in righty Eric Hanhold for the sixth inning and Kapler pinch-hit for Altherr and Bautista with lefty bats Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams. Herrera led off with a double and scored on a one-out hit by Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Phils a 3-2 lead.
Make the skipper smile
Kapler is always talking about how he loves long at-bats where the hitter makes the pitcher work and does damage at the end of the at-bat. Santana’s at-bat in the third was nirvana for Kapler. Santana worked a full-count and hit the 10th pitch of the at-bat out of the park for a two-run homer.
Santana is hot
At a time when the Phillies really need his bat, Santana has five homers and 14 RBIs in his last 17 games. He is up to 22 homers and 81 RBIs for the season.
Jay Bruce gave the Mets a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second inning. He has 22 homers and 60 RBIs in his career against the Phils.
An MRI on Maikel Franco’s sore right wrist revealed a bone bruise. He remains day to day. He was able to take some swings before the game.
Roman Quinn did not start after some lingering soreness from being hit by a pitch in the foot on Wednesday.
Tough draw for the Phillies on Saturday night as they face gas-throwing Noah Syndergaard in the second game of the series.
Syndegaard pitched a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 11 against the Giants in his last outing. Zach Eflin goes for the Phillies.
Vince Velasquez opposes Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom in the series finale on Sunday.