PHILADELPHIA -- Mets center fielder Michael Conforto already looks at home in the cleanup spot.Conforto started in the No. 4 spot for the first time this season in Thursday night's 10-0 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He worked a two-out walk and scored in the first inning,
PHILADELPHIA -- Mets center fielder Michael Conforto already looks at home in the cleanup spot.
Conforto started in the No. 4 spot for the first time this season in Thursday night's 10-0 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He worked a two-out walk and scored in the first inning, then hit a three-run home run off the left-field foul pole in the seventh inning to turn a four-run lead into a rout.
"I feel like it's all the same to me -- leadoff, two, three, four," Conforto said. "I definitely want to be at the top, but it doesn't really matter to me [exactly where]."
Conforto is expected to hit in the middle of the order the rest of the season. He started 68 games in the leadoff spot.
"I think that's where he needs to be," Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game. "He did a tremendous job leading off. Now, he's going to be in the middle of the lineup. We'll just see how he's going to handle it. The way he's swinging, I think it's going to be great."
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Both teams lost their starters along the way. Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom left in the bottom of the seventh inning when Nick Williams hit a line drive off his right arm. He sustained a bruised right triceps. X-rays were negative, and deGrom expects to make his next start. Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez left the game after the first inning because of numbness in his right middle finger.
"I don't even know how it occurred," Velasquez said. "How does a blister occur? I mean, I'm just throwing a ball all the time. But at this point, again, it's just a bruising. I can't say exactly what it is because we don't even know."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Flores jump-starts Mets: First baseman Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer to center field in the first inning to hand the Mets a 3-0 lead. It was his 14th homer of the season, and an important one for Flores, who figures to see his playing time diminish after the Mets called up second-ranked prospect Dominic Smith.
"We swung the bats good, and Wilmer had a nice night," Collins said. "Big homer in the first inning that kind of kickstarted everything, then after that we had a lot of guys chip in."
Walker vs. Leiter:Neil Walker's solo homer against Mark Leiter in the third made it 4-0. But Leiter otherwise pitched well in relief of Velasquez. He allowed four hits, one run and struck out seven in five innings. Leiter replaced Nick Pivetta after 2 2/3 innings on Saturday in Colorado. He struck out nine in 4 1/3 scoreless innings in that appearance, giving him 16 strikeouts and one run allowed in 9 1/3 innings in his last two appearances.
"A phenomenal job," Velasquez said about Leiter. "Really phenomenal. That's what he did. He came out in a tough situation like that, a call to the bullpen, lights out."
"I'm hoping that he crushes, is what I'm hoping for. That he absolutely mashes. That he's the MVP of the last two months of the season is what I'm hoping for." -- Collins on Smith, who is set to debut Friday
"It was exciting. Didn't go as well as I had hoped, but that's baseball." -- Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins, who went 0-for-2 with one walk in his big league debut. Hoskins is the No. 71 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.
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Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer in the ninth. It was the Mets' 51st homer in their past 23 games at Citizens Bank Park.
"I don't know what it is," Collins said. "We come here a lot. It's a great place to hit. It's a great ballpark to play in. Our guys are comfortable here."
To clear roster space for Smith, the Mets designated reliever Noel Salas for assignment following Thursday's game. In 48 appearances, Salas posted a 6.00 ERA.
Mets: Smith will debut when the Mets return to Citizens Bank Park for a 7:05 p.m. ET game Friday against the Phillies. Smith will play behind right-hander Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.55 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA his last two starts.
Phillies: Pivetta (4-7, 5.89 ERA) faces the Mets in the second game of the four-game series. Pivetta continues to be wildly inconsistent. He has pitched six or more innings in just six of his 16 starts, and he has allowed five or more runs in four of his past eight starts.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.