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Velasquez strong in return, but Phils fall in 10

Kapler adamant club doesn't need to add bat: 'We have everything we need in this clubhouse'
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

NEW YORK - Phillies manager Gabe Kapler stood in the middle of the visiting manager's office at Citi Field late Wednesday night and dissected a "super tough" 3-0 loss to the Mets in 10 innings.

Phillies right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. threw a first-pitch curveball to pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo with runners on first and second and two outs. Nimmo crushed the pitch 433 feet to right-center field for the Mets' second walk-off home run in the four-game series against the Phillies, who slipped into a first-place tie with the Braves in the National League East.

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NEW YORK - Phillies manager Gabe Kapler stood in the middle of the visiting manager's office at Citi Field late Wednesday night and dissected a "super tough" 3-0 loss to the Mets in 10 innings.

Phillies right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. threw a first-pitch curveball to pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo with runners on first and second and two outs. Nimmo crushed the pitch 433 feet to right-center field for the Mets' second walk-off home run in the four-game series against the Phillies, who slipped into a first-place tie with the Braves in the National League East.

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Kapler praised a dominant performance from starter Vince Velasquez, who threw six scoreless innings in his return to the rotation. He praised Maikel Franco's improved play, both offensively and defensively. He lamented how they lost a challenge on a fly ball that appeared to fall for a hit in the seventh. But in the end, the Phillies' offense struggled to hit in the series and Wednesday against Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who allowed five hits and struck out seven in eight sharp innings.

Video: PHI@NYM: Kapler discusses 3-0 loss to the Mets

The Phillies lost Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader because they could not come up with a big hit. They won Game 2 only because pitcher Aaron Nola doubled with the bases loaded to score the team's only runs.

Then they ran into deGrom. They fared no better against the Mets' bullpen.

The Phillies probably could use another hitter in the lineup. While they see more pitches and have the highest walk rate of any team in baseball, the Phils also entered the game eighth in the National League in scoring, averaging 4.43 runs per game.

Video: PHI@NYM: deGrom strikes out 7 over 8 shutout innings

Perhaps they will find a hitter before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But maybe not.

"I continue to say we have everything we need in this clubhouse," Kapler said. "We have everything we need in this room. We have gone through stretches in this season -- and I own that -- we have gone through stretches where we have not produced offensively. And then we've had big bangs. And we've had periods where we really run up the score. And because I've seen that happen, I know it's in our guys.

"I know our guys are still developing. I know [Nick] Williams is having longer at-bats, laying off more pitches. He's more disciplined. I know Mikey Franco is really coming around. That line drive to the first baseman [in the 10th]? That's something different, right? And that's something to really build on. We know that [Carlos] Santana's balls are going to start to drop [for hits] again. We know Cesar [Hernandez's] balls are going to start to drop [in] again. Like I said, everything we [need] is in this clubhouse right now. We know that [general manager] Matt [Klentak] is looking under every stone to give us any possible advantage, and we trust that."

Video: PHI@NYM: Herrera steals second after challenge

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Knapp runs out a rally: Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp got caught in a rundown on a ball hit to Mets third baseman Jose Reyes in the 10th. He rounded second, thinking Reyes would throw to first base to try to get Hernandez. But Reyes faked a throw and Knapp kept running. He eventually got tagged out to end the inning.

"I thought he would make a throw to first base," Knapp said. "I saw the arm go. I was really trying to get to third base so Rhys [Hoskins] could just get a nice base hit and we could score a run. Just a little bit too aggressive."

Video: PHI@NYM: Reyes tags out Knapp in rundown to end frame

Did he go? The Phillies thought Reyes did not check his swing on a 3-2 changeup with two outs in the 10th. Knapp appealed to third-base umpire Phil Cuzzi, but Cuzzi said Reyes did not swing. It allowed the Mets to send Nimmo to the plate. He homered on the next pitch.

"I thought he went, yeah," Knapp said.

"I don't know, maybe he went," Leiter said. "But that's part of it, and I have to get the next guy. Didn't get it. Have to give Nimmo credit. That was a great swing. Good for him."

Video: PHI@NYM: Nimmo wins it with a pinch-hit walk-off jack

SOUND SMART
The Phillies have been shut out five times this season.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Phillies turned a 5-3-4-6-4 double play to end the third inning. The Mets had a runner on first with one out when deGrom popped up a bunt in front of Franco, who purposely let the ball drop in front of him. He fired a throw to first base. Santana, perhaps not expecting the throw, caught the ball off the bag. He then flipped the ball to Hernandez, who was standing on first. At that point Amed Rosario got caught in a rundown with Hernandez finally applying the tag. More >

Video: PHI@NYM: Franco turns DP after letting bunt drop

HE SAID IT
"To bounce back and have a start like that today, I'm ecstatic." -- Velasquez

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Phillies lost a challenge on a catch in center field in the seventh inning. Mets center fielder Matthew den Dekker appeared to make a sliding catch in shallow center field with Franco on first base and one out. But the Phillies thought the ball hit the turf before it landed in den Dekker's glove. The replay official in New York ruled that the play stood as called, meaning there was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn the call. Had the call been overturned, the Phillies expected Franco to be placed at second and Jesmuel Valentin to be placed at first.

"Look, we felt very confidently that that ball was touching the grass," Kapler said. "Our expectation would have been that we would have had first and second. And that's why you challenge the play without question, is because there is one less out recorded and you have runners on first and second. And so not only did we think the ball was on the grass, but even if it was 50-50, you still challenge that."

Video: PHI@NYM: den Dekker's sliding catch stands on review

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.62 ERA) makes his final start before the All-Star break on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. ET in a makeup game against the Orioles in Baltimore. It is a big start for Pivetta, who has really struggled recently. He has lasted a combined 4 1/3 innings in his last two starts, and he is 0-4 with a 7.34 ERA in his last seven starts. He faces Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (4-6, 4.11 ERA).

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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