PHILADELPHIA — Normalcy returned to the Mets rotation Wednesday, with Zack Wheeler solid for seven innings. Not so normal, at least for this season, was the team’s lack of offense.
Jake Arrieta applied the muzzle, dominating the Mets for eight-plus innings in their 3-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets lost two of three games in the series and fell to 3-4 on the road trip.
A day after Steven Matz failed to record an out in his abysmal start, Wheeler brought stability back to a rotation that had also received lackluster performances from Jason Vargas, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in the last week.
In all the right-hander allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks over seven innings. It was his second straight quality start after cratering in a loss to the Nationals on the last homestand.
But Arrieta was better in limiting the Mets to two run on six hits and two walks. The right-hander was efficient for the entire afternoon against a lineup that entered second in the National League with 101 runs.
Adam Morgan and Hector Neris recorded the final three outs for the save. Amed Rosario’s infield single sliced the Phillies’ lead to 3-2 before Neris plunked pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos and Keon Broxton struck out to end the game.
The Mets didn’t break through against Arrieta until the seventh, on Michael Conforto’s homer leading off the inning. The blast was Conforto’s fifth in his last eight games against the Phillies, a stretch in which he has 13 RBIs.
Cesar Hernandez launched the Phillies’ second homer of the game, a solo blast with two outs in the sixth, to put the Mets in a 3-0 hole.
Scott Kingery hammered a 97-mph Wheeler fastball for a homer in the fifth that extended the Phillies’ lead to 2-0. It was the first homer allowed by Wheeler since his initial start of the season in Washington on March 31.
The Phillies loaded the bases in the second against Wheeler and scored their first run on Maikel Franco’s sacrifice fly. J.T. Realmuto and Odubel Herrera had singled in succession before Hernandez walked.
The Mets’ best chance to score early came in the second. Conforto singled and stole second and Travis d’Arnaud walked with two outs before Broxton was retired. Broxton was in the lineup a day after Brandon Nimmo exited the game with neck stiffness.