Zack Wheeler haunts Mets, Phillies earn split in Queens

Zack Wheeler
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zach Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Wheeler spun a gem Sunday, going seven scoreless innings for the Phillies while yielding just four hits, striking out eight and walking two in a 4-2 victory over his old club, the New York Mets, to earn a split of a four-game series for his team.

His strong outing proved to be the ninth time in the Mets’ last 13 games that they were held to two runs or fewer, though they remain atop the NL East.

The Mets were made to instantly feel the brunt of a missed opportunity in the first inning in which they left runners on first and third with one out without scoring.

Odubel Herrera’s sacrifice fly put the Phillies on the board in the second after Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman found himself in a one-out, bases-loaded jam when Jeff McNeil couldn’t reel in Stroman’s throw from a Wheeler sacrifice bunt attempt and the Mets couldn’t get Nick Maton out at third after a rundown in which he was originally called out.

The Phillies opened up some breathing room in the third inning by hanging a three-spot on Stroman — quickly descending his outing into one of his worst starts of the season.

Alec Bohm drove in the second run of the game with a groundout with runners on second and third before a Maton double and Ronald Torreyes single put the Phillies up 4-0.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Nick Maton is greeted in the dugout Sunday after scoring against the New York Mets in the second inning at Citi Field.PHOTO: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Stroman’s day was done after the inning having thrown 74 pitches. The Mets proceeded to call on Corey Oswalt for an extended relief stint in which he went four innings of scoreless work with four strikeouts while allowing four hits.

He wasn’t expecting to go that long when he was standing on deck in the fifth inning with two runners on and one out. But Mets manager Luis Rojas opted not to pinch-hit for him, settling for a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third with two outs to give the Phillies a bit of a reprieve.

Jeff McNeil was unable to get the job done as he flew out to keep the Mets in their four-run hole.

Oswalt was pinch-hit for in the seventh inning after Luis Guillorme worked a two-out walk, but Dom Smith lined out to third.

The Mets finally got on the board in the eighth inning when the Phillies turned to their suspect bullpen. Francisco Lindor led off the inning with a double off Jose Alvarado before being driven in by a Pete Alonso single.

While Alvarado got through the eighth, the Mets would draw closer in the ninth after Kevin Pillar hit his second home run in as many days, taking Archie Bradley out into the left-field seats. It was his eighth round-tripper of the season in just 160 at-bats.

That would be as close as they’d get, though, as Bradley got groundouts from Luis Guillorme and Pat Mazeika.

A version of this article first appeared on