Segura, Harper put Phils on doorstep of first

September 19th, 2021

NEW YORK -- and drove in two runs apiece on Saturday night, and it was just enough to help the Phillies defeat the Mets, 5-3, at Citi Field.

Philadelphia is getting hot at the right time. The Phillies (76-72) have won four straight games and sit one game behind the Braves (76-70) in the National League East. They are not far from the Cardinals (78-69) for the second NL Wild Card spot, either, just 2 1/2 games back, though the Reds (77-72) are only two behind.

It was Segura that gave Philadelphia some oomph in the early stages of the game, hitting two solo homers in the first three innings off Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco.

“[Segura] is really important. He has two big home runs, which is huge,” Phillies manager Joe Giradi said. “Just getting on base in front of Bryce and having to pitch to Bryce, I think those two are among the league leaders in runs scored the last couple weeks. They both play extremely well. Wherever it comes from, it doesn’t matter, but Jean is playing extremely well this year.”

Segura usually has his way against the Mets, hitting .324 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs during his career against them.

“I see the ball really good when we play those guys,” Segura said. “I try to do my best and try to win the baseball game.”

The Phillies didn’t score again until the seventh, when they brought home three runs to make it a 5-1 game. With left-hander Brad Hand on the mound, Freddy Galvis doubled down the left-field line, scoring Brad Miller. Four batters later, Trevor May was on the mound for New York to face Harper, who doubled to right field to send Galvis and Odúbel Herrera home.

“When he is locked in, [Harper] is not chasing at all,” Phillies starter Aaron Nola said. “You throw a ball close in the zone right now, he is hitting them.”

It appeared Nola emerged out of his slump. Before Saturday’s game, Nola had a 7.53 ERA during September, but he dominated on this day, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings and striking out nine batters. He won his first game since July 25 against the Braves.

“It’s been a while,” Nola said. “... We are in a race right now. I can help, go out and do my job as best as I can. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Nola ran out of gas in the sixth inning. His curveball wasn’t the same as it was the previous five innings. That’s why Girardi took Nola out of the game in favor of left-hander José Alvarado, who struck out Michael Conforto to strand a runner.

“I thought [Nola] pitched an outstanding game,” Girardi said. “In the [Mets’] lineup, there are a lot of guys that could hit the ball out of the ballpark and do a lot of different things. So I thought he pitched really well.”

Though the Phillies’ bullpen allowed two runs, closer Ian Kennedy picked up his eighth save for the club by blanking the Mets in the ninth inning.

“Ian is a guy that is able to turn the page, and he is going to make pitches and is going to use his fastball effectively,” Girardi said. “He threw a really good changeup against Jeff McNeil and was able to get him to roll it over. He gave us 1 1/3 last night. He got a big save tonight, so I feel good about it.”