Marte, Mets top Wheeler, Phillies again to open doubleheader

Sports

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Starling Marte got three hits and the New York Mets kept up their season-long dominance of Philadelphia, topping Zack Wheeler and the Phillies 8-2 Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

The NL East-leading Mets have won 13 of 17 from their division rivals this year while outscoring them 89-50. New York improved to 6-2 at Citizens Bank Park in that span.

Michael Perez broke an 0-for-19 slump with a two-run single in the fifth inning to start the scoring. Francisco Lindor added an RBI triple in the sixth against Wheeler (11-7), a former Met.

“There are a lot of times during the year that you are going to have to reach down a little bit and separate yourself,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “There are times during a year that you are going to go against things that are challenging — weather, travel, competition. And our guys grinded the heck out of it.”

Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil both added two hits for the Mets.

Mets pitchers Trevor Williams, Seth Lugo (3-2), Joely Rodriguez, Adam Ottavino and Sam Clay held the Phillies’ struggling lineup to six hits while stranding 12 runners. Williams was solid in this first start since July 7, going four-plus innings while allowing four hits and no earned runs.

“Buck puts me in positions that he trusts me to succeed,” Williams said. “He has given me opportunities to pitch in these spots and I’m thankful that he still trusts me.

Philadelphia has been limited to two runs or less in seven of its past nine games and without a home run in nine of its last 10 games.

“You go through times like this and you keep encouraging and saying that good things will happen,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “But we’ll come out of it, I’m sure.”

The Phillies, who started the day holding the second NL wild-card spot, are 61-41 against every other team on their schedule besides New York. In nine games against New York, Philadelphia’s two top starters — Wheeler and Aaron Nola — are a combined 0-7 with a 4.38 ERA. The Mets have won all nine games the duo has started, including four over the last two weekend series.

Wheeler struggled with his control, walking four while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings. The Mets worked deep counts through the early innings and ran Wheeler’s pitch count up, finally cashing in during the fifth inning.

“We’re having trouble against (the Mets),” Wheeler said. “We know what we have to do. We have to swing better against them, pitch better against them. We know we’re still a good team. We just have to keep our nose down and keep grinding.”

Marte hit an RBI single during a four-run ninth off Phillies reliever Nick Nelson.

TRAINERS ROOM

Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker will not be the Mets starter in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. Walker has been sidelined with back spasms and manager Buck Showalter indicated that his return to the mound could be delayed a day or two. Walker only pitched two innings in his last start on Aug. 16 before leaving the game in an eventual 5-0 loss to Atlanta.

UP NEXT

The two teams will meet in Saturday’s nightcap (7:15 p.m.) with a pair of left-handed pitchers scheduled to start. The Mets will send David Peterson (6-2, 3.30 ERA) against Philadelphia’s Bailey Falter (0-3, 4.85).

The season series will wrap up on Sunday afternoon with the Phillies sending Kyle Gibson (8-5, 4.30) to the mound against a pitcher to be announced later by New York.

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