PHILADELPHIA -- Jacob Arrieta came off the field to another ovation at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. Phillies fans were in a much different mood when Hector Neris walked to the dugout in the ninth inning.Neris was met with boos after blowing his second save in six games. The
PHILADELPHIA -- Jacob Arrieta came off the field to another ovation at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. Phillies fans were in a much different mood when Hector Neris walked to the dugout in the ninth inning.
Neris was met with boos after blowing his second save in six games. The Phillies closer gave up two homers in the blink of an eye during a stunning 3-1 loss to the Mets on Friday night. The Phillies snapped a four-game winning streak, and the defeat erased another brilliant home start from Arrieta.
Neris gave up a one-out single to Wilmer Flores before Michael Conforto -- who barely missed a homer on a long foul drive earlier in the at-bat -- launched a 1-2 fastball deep into the right-field seats. Devin Mesoraco sent Neris' next pitch -- an 88-mph slider -- a projected 386 feet over the left-field wall, according to Statcast™.
Neris has blown three saves in 11 chances this season. He gave up two runs without recording an out against the Nationals on Sunday in the Phillies' only other loss over their last seven games.
Neris, who did not meet with reporters after Friday's loss, converted a pair of saves during the Phillies' four-game sweep of the Giants in between the defeats, and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the team will continue to use him "if he's the best option at any given scenario."
"That has always been the case; that will always be the case," Kapler said. "If he is the best option to get the hitters out that are coming up, we will go to him."
Kapler added that he thinks Neris, whose ERA climbed to 5.17, will remain confident in his pitches and in himself.
"He is about as confident a pitcher as I've been around. He believes in himself. This is difficult for him. Just like it is any competitor, just like it is any successful athlete," Kapler said. "... It's a mental grind, and this is something that Hector will overcome, and once he gets through it, he's going to soar."
Arrieta, meanwhile, allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out five. Arrieta retired nine straight Mets at one point as he lowered his season ERA by more than half a run to 2.59. Odubel Herrera's first-inning home run was enough to give Arrieta a lead when he exited with one out in the eighth.
• Herrera's homer extends on-base streak to 40 games
It marked the third home start in a row that Arrieta has gone at least seven innings. He's allowed just one earned run and 10 hits during that span (21 1/3 innings), and Arrieta has a 1.07 ERA at home this season.
Arrieta also had a quality outing wiped away with Neris' last blown save. The veteran starter made sure to check in with the reliever after the game.
"I walked over to him when he came in, I just told him to keep his head up," Arrieta said. "He's a guy we're going to rely on a lot throughout the season."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Santana leaves 'em loaded:Carlos Santana was ahead in the count, 3-0, with the bases loaded and two outs against Mets starter Steven Matz in the fifth inning. Santana had 13 RBIs in his previous four games entering Friday, but he didn't find the right pitch against Matz, eventually grounding out to the shortstop on a 3-2 pitch. Santana was the last hitter Matz faced, and the Phillies were unable to take advantage of two walks and a hit batter in the inning.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Mets showed signs of life against Arrieta when Jose Reyes blooped a pinch-hit single with two outs in the seventh. With new callup Dominic Smith at the plate, Arrieta picked Reyes off at first base to end the inning. The Mets challenged the call, but the original ruling was confirmed.
HE SAID IT
"It's tough for me, because it's tough for Hector. You hate to see a teammate of yours in a situation like that. ... It's tough for the rest of the guys. He works really hard, as prepared as anybody in here." -- Arrieta, on Neris
Zach Eflin has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies as he tries to pitch his way into a long-term rotation spot. Eflin has allowed just one run and seven hits over 12 2/3 innings in his first two Major League starts of 2018. The right-hander will try to quiet the Mets and best Noah Syndergaard on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park.
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.