PHILADELPHIA - Andrew McCutchen entered as a mid-game injury replacement and hit a go-ahead, two-run home run to help the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 6-2 on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep.
McCutchen was hitting just .180 this season with no homers and got the day off against Mets starter Rick Porcello (1-3). Jay Bruce got the start in left field but was pulled in the fourth inning with a left quad injury.
Enter McCutchen, exit home run.
“I know it's a matter of time for me,” McCutchen said. “I want to be better than where I've been. I also have to respect the fact that I am coming back from an injury.”
McCutchen tore the ACL in his left knee last season but says now “there's nothing that can stop me from being myself.”
The Phillies tied the game at 2 in the sixth on rookie Alec Bohm’s opposite-field double to right that scored J.T. Realmuto. McCutchen, batting in Bruce’s spot, hit the first pitch he saw into the left field fan cutouts for a 4-2 lead.
“The pitch to McCutchen was my worst pitch of the day,” Porcello said.
The Phillies (8-9) moved within a game of .500 following the sweep of their NL East rival and found their footing as they head out on a 10-game road trip. The Phillies have played only one road game this season.
Zack Wheeler (3-0) gave up two runs and struck out four over seven solid innings to give the Phillies yet another quality start in his first appearance against his former team. Aaron Nola tossed seven scoreless innings on Saturday, and only the worst bullpen in baseball has kept the Phillies from making a serious run so far at the East.
“The one thing I have not seen from Zack is emotion,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I think that’s a great trait for a starting pitcher because they’re consistent in what they can do every time.”
Wheeler made his first start against the Mets since he signed a $118 million, five-year contract with the Phillies. Wheeler spent his first seven seasons with the New York Mets. He was 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA last season after going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 2018. Wheeler missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons following Tommy John surgery.
“You have to calm yourself down and go out there and pitch,” Wheeler said. “We chatted back and forth a couple of times when guys were running by or whatever. But it was friendly. I made a lot of good friends over there, good relationships.”
Rhys Hoskins, whose three-RBI double on Saturday showed he’s close to breaking out of a slump, added a run-scoring single in the first for a 1-0 lead.
The Mets scored twice in the fourth off Wheeler on Luis Guillorme’s two-RBI single. The Mets killed a couple of rallies with baserunning blunders, notably when Andres Gimenez was thrown out at home to end the second.
The Phillies added two more runs in the seventh to secure the sweep.
“Everyone kind of did their job this weekend and that's encouraging, as well,” Girardi said.
Mets slugger Pete Alonso was out of the starting lineup after a slow start to the season with just three homers, 11 RBIs and a .214 average. Alonso burst onto the scene last year with 53 homers and won the NL Rookie of the Year.
“He’s been on and off,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s about to break out and be that guy and all of a sudden, he’s off.”
RHP Franklyn Kilome was recalled from the team’s alternate training site and INF Brian Dozier was designated for assignment.
METS: Two-time reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom played catch and felt better after he was scratched from his scheduled start against the Phillies on Friday night because of neck tightness. He could be in play for a start on Wednesday.
PHILLIES: OF Roman Quinn was placed on the IL. Quinn stayed home after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Girardi said Quinn “did the right thing” reporting his symptoms. ... The Phillies have recalled OF Kyle Garlick from Lehigh Valley. ... 2B Jean Segura left the game in the seventh with a hamstring injury after he collided with Mets 1B Dominic Smith and reached on an error.
With the Phillies set to hit the road for the next 11 days, their parking lot has been turned into a concert stage. AJR, The Struts and Mt. Joy are among the bands that will play drive-in concerts in the parking lots while fans listen in their cars.
The Mets open a series with the Marlins on Monday and send RHP Robert Gsellman (0-0, 9.00 ERA) to the mound against RHP Jordan Yamamoto (0-0, 9.82 ERA).
After playing just one road game all season, the Phillies finally pack their bags and head to Boston to start a series on Tuesday. They haven’t decided on a starter. Boston sends RHP Zack Godley (0-2, 8.16 ERA) to the mound.