NEW YORK -- Jay Bruce continues to haunt the Phillies.
The Mets' right fielder ripped two home runs in Wednesday night's 5-4 victory at Citi Field. He hit a two-out, three-run home run to right field against Vince Velasquez in the sixth inning to hand the Mets a one-run lead. The Phillies tied the game in the eighth, but Bruce answered. He hit a 1-0 fastball from Edubray Ramos for a two-run homer to right to give the Mets a two-run lead. The homers left Bruce's bat at 108 mph and 105 mph, respectively, according to Statcast™.
Bruce has six homers this season. He has four against the Phillies. More >
Bruce is hitting .333 (82-for-246) with 21 home runs, 58 RBIs and a 1.033 OPS in 67 career games against the Phillies. It is his highest OPS against any team in which he has 100 or more plate appearances.
"It sounds so cliche, but I'm just playing ball, trying to be part of this," Bruce said. "I don't believe in must-win games in April, but it was good to get this one."
Velasquez, who has not won a game since July 8, had cruised through five innings before Bruce got to him in the sixth. He had retired 13 out of 15 batters when he allowed a two-out single to Asdrubal Cabrera in the sixth. Velasquez then walked Yoenis Cespedes, setting up Bruce for his big at-bat.
"He's an aggressive hitter," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "First-pitch fastball, middle of the plate, right in his hot zone, a good hitter's not going to miss those pitches. That's how you lose games."
The Mets have won 15 of their last 17 series against the Phillies. They can win their 16th with a victory Thursday night.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bullpen holds on: The Mets bullpen had lost four consecutive games entering the night, and it made things interesting again. Robert Gsellman started the eighth, allowing a leadoff double to Aaron Altherr. Jerry Blevins entered, but he allowed a two-out single to Michael Saunders to score Altherr to tie the game. Mets closer Addison Reed then allowed a run in the ninth following a one-out triple to Freddy Galvis.
Cespedes out at home: Cespedes tried to score from first on Bruce's two-out double into the right-field corner in the first inning. Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph picked up Saunders' throw from the outfield and fired a perfect throw home, getting Cespedes at the plate to end the inning.
Cespedes ran through a stop sign from third-base coach Glenn Sherlock, but manager Terry Collins said he had no problem with his left fielder's decision. "I didn't think it was a bad play," Collins said. "Joseph made a great relay throw."
"He is the guy we wanted to get [last year]. He's a run producer. We're lucky to have him." -- Collins, on Bruce
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Mets first baseman Lucas Duda left the game in the fifth inning with a hyperextended left elbow. Duda was trying to catch a wide throw from Gsellman when his glove collided with Phillies baserunner Cesar Hernandez. The Mets also lost catcher Travis d'Arnaud when he left in the seventh inning with a right wrist contusion. d'Arnaud was hurt when he hit Altherr's bat while trying to throw to second base. He said the injury is not serious. More >
Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Nola (1-0, 3.27 ERA) pitches the series finale against the Mets on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field. Nola's first two starts have been encouraging, considering he missed most of the second half last season because of an injured right elbow. His command appears to be back. He has walked two and struck out 13 in 11 innings.
Mets: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.95 ERA) starts Thursday night's series finale against the Phillies at Citi Field. Syndergaard has been outstanding in his first three starts, but had to leave two of them early due to finger issues he hopes have now been solved.
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