PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies fans showed their appreciation for the effort Tuesday night. They stood and cheered as Mets left-hander Steven Matz walked off the mound in the bottom of the first inning at Citizens Bank Park.
Matz faced eight batters. He allowed eight runs. He retired nobody.
It sparked a 14-3 victory over the Mets.
“That was probably the craziest first inning I’ve ever been a part of,” Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “Just the quality of at-bats everybody put together, everybody was hitting the ball hard, running the bases well. It was pretty fun for a first inning.”
Matz became just the fifth starting pitcher in baseball history to allow eight or more runs in a game without retiring a batter. It had not happened since May 6, 2005, when Cincinnati’s Paul Wilson allowed eight runs against the Dodgers. Incredibly, Wilson accomplished the feat twice. He also allowed eight runs to the Astros on July 10, 2003.
The Phillies’ big inning started innocently enough, when Mets shortstop Amed Rosario booted a groundball from Andrew McCutchen. Jean Segura doubled to put runners on second and third. Matz hit Bryce Harper above the left wrist with a 93 mph sinker to load the bases.
Realmuto doubled to score the game’s first two runs. He hit cleanup for the first time this season because Rhys Hoskins needed to take a day off after spraining his left ankle in Monday’s game.
Scott Kingery then hit a first-pitch changeup for a three-run home run to make it 5-0. Kingery went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and a career-high five RBIs. He also got hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He is batting .647 (11-for-17) with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs in his last seven games.
Cesar Hernandez walked and Aaron Altherr reached on Rosario’s second error of the frame to keep the inning going. Maikel Franco followed, smashing a 2-0 changeup to center field for a three-run home run to make it 8-0. It was Franco’s sixth homer of the season. He has 17 RBIs in the eight-hole.
“I really think there’s something to him hitting in front of the pitcher,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think there’s something to his comfort level and his confidence in that spot. He’s been so productive, I didn’t see the value in taking him out of that spot. Let’s let it roll as long as we can.”
Mets manager Mickey Callaway pulled the plug on Matz at that point. Right-hander Drew Gagnon faced six more batters as the Phillies scored two more runs on Realmuto’s second double of the inning to take a 10-0 lead into the second. Realmuto later homered in the fourth, giving him five RBIs as well.
“We went all the way to [Nick] Pivetta’s spot without them getting an out,” Kingery said. “When you do that, it kind of just deflates the other team. It kind of just gives you all the momentum.”
It was a huge inning for the Phillies, but it wasn’t a record. They scored a franchise-most 12 runs in the first inning on April 8, 2017, against the Nationals. They sent 16 batters to the plate then.
“I think the fans said everything, right?” Kapler said. “They were pretty excited about that. I believe there was a standing ovation at the end of that inning. I think the dugout felt similarly.”