Phillies vs. Mets: Phillies blow two more saves but manage split in crucial doubleheader with Mets

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Phillies blow two more saves but manage split in crucial doubleheader with Mets originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

You can’t blow ‘em all.

Lately, it seems like the Phillies are trying to.

But even they couldn’t get the job done Friday night.

The Phils salvaged a split in a crucial doubleheader against the New York Mets with a 2-1 win in Game 2.

They lost Game 1, also by a 2-1 score.

The final scores weren’t the only similarities. 

In both games, the Phils got scoreless work from their starting pitcher. In both games, they took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. In both games, they committed an error in the bottom of the seventh that led to the Mets scoring an unearned run to tie the game and a blown save for the Phillies.

Doubleheaders are seven-inning games. The Phils lost the first one on a run in the bottom of the eighth.

They scored the go-ahead run in Game 2 when Travis Jankowski trotted home from third on a ground ball by Odubel Herrera in the top of the eighth.

The Phils still had to get three outs after that – and guess who got them?

Hector Neris. 

On the same day he was replaced by Jose Alvarado as the team’s closer, Neris got the save in the nightcap. Neris had lost the closer’s job after blowing his third save in a span of five appearances Thursday.

Alvarado, in his first day as closer, blew the save in Game 1 after committing a throwing error and giving up a two-out hit to Francisco Lindor in the bottom of the seventh. First baseman Rhys Hoskins lost Alvarado’s high but catchable throw in the setting sun. He was equipped for the moment because he had his sunglasses on – unfortunately, they were on top of his cap.

Alvarado’s blown save cost Aaron Nola a win on a day he deserved one. Nola struck out 12 in Game 1, including 10 in a row at one point to tie Hall of Famer Tom Seaver’s 51-year-old major league record.

“Nola threw unbelievably well,” Bryce Harper said. “That game's got to be won.” 

Nola pitched 5⅓ scoreless innings. Matt Moore made his first start since April 17 in the nightcap. He made three starts in April and recorded an ERA of 9.82 before losing his spot in the rotation and ultimately landing on the injured list with a sore back. Pressed into duty in Game 2, he responded with five scoreless innings. He received a huge assist when Andrew McCutchen robbed a would-be homer from Albert Almora in the second inning.

“That was the difference in the game,” manager Joe Girardi said. 

“What a great play,” Moore said. “The turning point in the game. Cutch is a stud.”

Harper gave the Phils a 1-0 lead in Game 2 with his 11th homer (all solo shots) in the top of the sixth. The fans always ride Harper pretty hard in New York. He blew the crowd kisses on his way back to the dugout. 

With Alvarado unavailable in the second game, Girardi went to Archie Bradley for the save in the seventh, but he could not protect the lead after third baseman Alec Bohm made a costly error. The blown save was the Phillies’ 18th, the most in the majors, in 34 opportunities but they came back for a run in the eighth.

“It was real important we bounce back,” Girardi said after the taut win. 

Indeed, it was. The Phils face Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in baseball, on Saturday. There’s a huge difference going into that game at 1-1 in the series instead of 0-2. And to think, the Phillies could have – should have – won both of these games and gone into Saturday's game 2-0 in the series. 

The Phils will need more offense Saturday. They had just six hits in the doubleheader, three in each game. Nola and backup catcher Rafael Marchan accounted for four of those hits. Nola doubled home the Phillies’ run in Game 1. He was a one-man show.

The split left the Phillies at 35-38, still five games behind the first-place Mets with two games remaining in the series.