NEW YORK (AP) — Marcus Stroman was right. He was more than ready.
Back on the mound two days after an abbreviated start, Stroman tossed six spotless innings and the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 Tuesday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Brandon Nimmo had three hits and three RBIs from the leadoff spot. Jonathan Villar followed up his game-winning single in the opener with a run-scoring double, and Stroman (2-0) outpitched Phillies ace Aaron Nola.
“I just think we put two really good games together back-to-back today,” Stroman said.
Both games of the single-admission twinbill, booked to make up Monday night’s rainout at Citi Field, were scheduled for seven innings in keeping with a rules change introduced during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
In the first game, Pete Alonso and Villar each hit an RBI single in the eighth to give New York a 4-3 victory in extra innings. Dominic Smith socked an early two-run homer for the Mets.
“You saw amazing starting pitching and you saw our lineup really grinding it out,” Nimmo said. “That’s how we drew it up. Very relieving to have that one in the books.”
Stroman’s outing Sunday against Miami lasted only nine pitches because the game was suspended due to rain. He tweeted his displeasure, saying it never should have started and he hated that he would have to wait another five days to pitch again.
But after playing catch Monday, Stroman told manager Luis Rojas his arm would be ready Tuesday and he was taking the ball in the nightcap.
Stroman said he spoke to his personal trainer, who put together a good preparation plan, and spent time in his hyperbaric chamber Tuesday morning to get ready “to dominate.”
“This guy works so hard. He’s in unbelievable shape,” Rojas said. “That’s why he was able to bounce back.”
The cocksure 5-foot-7 righty hopped around excitedly all night, slapping his glove after inducing a pair of inning-ending double plays and even flipping his bat away after drawing a late walk at the plate.
After his legs got cold on the bases, he figured it best to come out rather than try for a seven-inning complete game.
“I could feel Stroman feeling good in that game,” Nimmo said. “It just felt like he had it tonight.”
Stroman was perfect over the first three innings and faced the minimum through four. He permitted four hits, all singles, and walked none. He struck out three and threw 86 pitches.
Villar doubled home a run off Nola (0-1) in the fourth, and Nimmo added a two-run single.
“When I don’t have my stuff, it’s hard to navigate through these guys,” Nola said. “They take a lot of pitches and make me battle.”
Backup catcher Tomás Nido legged out his first career triple in the sixth and scored on Nimmo’s single.
Jeurys Familia got three outs to finish the six-hitter as New York sealed its first doubleheader sweep of the NL East rival Phillies since September 2011 at Citi Field.
“We’re capable of swinging better and right now we’re facing guys who are throwing well,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said.
With the Mets down a run in the first game, Alonso opened the bottom of the eighth with a sharp single off Héctor Neris (0-1) that scored placement runner Francisco Lindor from second. It was New York’s first hit since the second inning.
The Mets loaded the bases with one out for Villar, who entered as a pinch-runner in the seventh. He lofted a full-count pitch to left-center over the head of left fielder Andrew McCutchen, playing shallow in hopes of cutting off the winning run.
“It’s good to see those big hits in those moments,” Rojas said. “You can see the guys’ timing coming together.”
Aided by a passed ball, the Phillies went ahead 3-2 in the top of the eighth on Didi Gregorius’ two-out infield single. Trevor May (1-1) then struck out Jean Segura with two runners in scoring position and got his first win for the Mets.
There was some barking back and forth between the Mets’ bench and Phillies reliever José Alvarado during the first game after the left-hander buzzed Michael Conforto up and in and then drilled him near the right wrist with a 100 mph fastball in the sixth. Alvarado gestured dismissively in the direction of New York’s dugout, but nothing more came of it.
X-rays on Conforto’s wrist were negative, the Mets said. Conforto sat out the nightcap, with Kevin Pillar playing right field instead.
The Mets (4-3) were finally back on the field after showers stymied them the previous two days. New York had played just five games in the first 12 days of the season because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the Washington Nationals and then wet weather.
Top prospect Spencer Howard was added to Philadelphia’s roster as the 27th man for the doubleheader. The right-hander made his first professional relief appearance in the second game, allowing one run in the sixth.
Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.31 ERA) pitches Wednesday night against his former team.
Mets: Second-year lefty David Peterson (0-1, 13.50) gave up a career-high six runs over four innings last week in Philadelphia. Peterson has a 16.50 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies and a 2.64 ERA in nine outings versus all other teams.
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