Bullpen strong, Cespedes homers in Mets’ 4-2 win over Phils
NEW YORK (AP) — Coming out of spring training, the Mets’ rotation was considered to be one of the club’s biggest strengths.
So far it’s been New York’s relievers that have keyed their hot start.
Yoenis Cespedes homered, Amed Rosario hit a two-run triple and the Mets’ bullpen faced the minimum number of batters over five scoreless innings and New York downed the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Wednesday.
New York swept a weather-shortened two-game series and is 4-1 for the first time since 2012.
Mets relievers dominated in a game that started 97 minutes late because of rain.
Former starter Robert Gsellman (1-0) threw two perfect innings. Hansel Robles struck out the side in his first appearance this season. A.J. Ramos pitched a scoreless eighth and closer Jeurys Familia earned his third save in three chances.
“I just want to start off by giving a lot of kudos and thanks to my homies in the bullpen,” said starter Noah Syndergaard, who lasted only four innings. “They really held down the fort.”
New York’s bullpen has allowed just three runs in 20 1/3 innings (1.33 ERA), and the pitching staff as a whole has a franchise-record 61 strikeouts through the season’s first five games.
“I think our bullpen has done a fantastic job so far this season, and we have faith in them,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Everybody’s doing the right things.”
With runners at the corners and two outs in the sixth, Rosario cleared the bases with a liner over the head of shallow-playing right fielder Nick Williams to chase reliever Drew Hutchison (1-1) and snap a 2-2 tie.
“We were positioned effectively, from my perspective,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Felt like it was the right decision to take away the ball in front of us rather than optimize for just a really well-struck double to right-center field.”
The 22-year-old Rosario has driven in five runs in as many games.
“I feel very comfortable, and fortunately most of the times that I’ve been taking at-bats there have been some runners in scoring position so I have a chance to bring them home,” Rosario said through a translator.
Cespedes jumped on Aaron Nola’s hanging curveball in the first inning, sending it off the facing of the second deck in left field to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
The Phillies tied it in the third on some timely hitting, a botched rundown and a steal of home. Cesar Hernandez singled and advanced to third on Carlos Santana’s double.
Williams followed with an RBI groundout, moving Santana to third and scoring Hernandez — snapping a 19-inning scoreless streak.
Rhys Hoskins walked and tried to steal second. Catcher Kevin Plawecki threw to Asdrubal Cabrera in front of the bag, prompting Hoskins to reverse course and head toward first base while Santana slowly inched toward the plate.
As Cabrera tossed the ball to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Santana sprinted down the line. Gonzalez fired to Plawecki late.
“All the credit goes to Jose David Flores,” Kapler said, praising his first base coach for the play.
“It’s a play that he’s been thinking about a lot. He identified that we had to find a way to steal a run from Syndergaard right there.”
Syndergaard struck out five in the first two innings and seven overall, throwing 92 pitches.
“It was just kind of a weird outing,” Syndergaard said.
Nola allowed two runs and four hits and four walks over five innings, striking out four.
“Command wasn’t there,” Nola said. “It was a grind.”
The game was shown exclusively on Facebook in the United States, a streaming platform accessible on computers, select smart phones and tablets as well as smart TVs. Fans without a Facebook account either had to sign up for one or listen to their local radio broadcast.
There are 24 more digital-only broadcasts planned throughout the season featuring all 30 clubs.
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek (strained right shoulder) had an MRI on Tuesday which showed inflammation, but did not reveal a significant injury. He is expected to miss a couple of more weeks. ... RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (strained right forearm muscle) underwent tests on his forearm and the results were normal. He may begin throwing during the upcoming homestand.
Mets: All-Star OF Michael Conforto (shoulder surgery) will travel with the team to Washington and could be activated as soon as Thursday. ... LHP Jason Vargas (broken right hand) is scheduled to throw his next simulated game on Saturday in Port St. Lucie.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (0-0, 6.75 ERA) faces Miami in Philadelphia’s home opener on Thursday.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-0, 1.59 ERA) takes on the NL East rival Nationals in Washington’s home opener on Thursday.
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