Canha, Scherzer lead Mets over Phillies for three-game sweep
NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Canha's hot streak won't cause him to try to keep too much the same.
“I’m not superstitious,” he said, laughing. “I’m a little spicious.”
Canha hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in his latest blitz of Philadelphia Phillies pitching, boosting Max Scherzer and the New York Mets to a 4-2 victory Thursday that completed a three-game sweep of the defending NL champions.
Canha entered the series hitting .233 with three homers and 12 RBIs. He homered and drove in four runs on Wednesday and is 6 for 10 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last three games against the Phillies dating to last season.
“I think it’s just coincidental that I’m doing well against the Phillies,” he said. “But it’s a divisional opponent, so I’m happy to help. And these are big wins that are great to get. ... We haven't been as great as we should have been in the first couple of months and we’re making up a little bit of ground."
Canha grounded out in his first at-bat. New York trailed 2-0 before Jeff McNeil hit an RBI single in the third and Canha homered in the fourth on a thigh-high fastball from former Met Taijuan Walker (4-3) after Starling Marte was hit by a pitch.
“If I get a hit in my first at-bat, I use the same bat. If I don’t, I’ll switch bats or switch batting gloves or something like that,” Canha said.
He raised his average to .245 with five homers and 18 RBIs.
“It can’t just be Pete in the middle of lineup hitting homers. It’s got to be everybody,” Scherzer said of slugger Pete Alonso. “It’s great to see when people are scuffling to come out of it and then start swinging away and they really catch fire. And Mark’s that guy right now, and he’s been going out there giving us huge at-bats.”
Rookie Mark Vientos added a pinch-hit sixth-inning sacrifice fly off Matt Strahm. New York (30-27) has won 17 of its last 21 games against the Phillies, including seven straight series.
Philadelphia (25-31) dropped a season-worst six games under .500. The Phillies are on their fourth losing streak of four or more games and have lost 12 of 17.
Walker threw just 38 of 74 pitches for strikes, giving up three runs, two hits and three walks in four innings. His sinker averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season, and his fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.
“I just couldn't get it going,” he said. “Not trying to make any excuses.”
Scherzer (5-2) fell behind 2-0 in the first after Trea Turner singled with one out and Bryce Harper walked. A double steal led to a run when catcher Francisco Álvarez’s throw skipped into left field for an error, and Nick Castellanos followed with a sacrifice fly.
Scherzer gave up two runs — one earned — and five hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one. He threw 71 of 101 pitches for strikes.
With Adam Ottavino and David Robertson rested after pitching on consecutive days, Jeff Brigham threw a perfect eighth. Brooks Raley got two outs and Drew Smith retired pinch-hitter Drew Ellis, making his Phillies debut, on a first-pitch flyout with a man on for his second save.
Mets manager Buck Showalter credited Canha as an under-the-radar player who works hard.
“You trust those guys and they win a lot of tiebreakers when you’re making out lineups,” he said.
Philadelphia managed just three runs and 17 hits in the series — just two for extra bases — with 33 strikeouts. Kyle Schwarber was 0 for 10. Castellanos had three of the Phillies' six hits in the finale.
New York has homered in 15 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in team history behind 21 in 1996.
Mets right-hander Kodai Senga could pitch on normal four days’ rest for the first time on Sunday. Senga, 5-3 with a 3.44 ERA, has made his first 10 starts with extra rest, similar to the schedule of pitchers in Japan.
Phillies: INF Alec Bohm was put on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring, a move retroactive to Wednesday. Ellis’ contract was selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and OF Cal Stevenson was designated for assignment. ... LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen session and is to throw an inning Saturday for Lehigh Valley in the first of what will be multiple rehab appearances.
Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler (4-4, 3.60) starts Friday’s series opener at Washington, which sends RHP Josiah Gray (4-5, 2.77) to the mound.
Mets: RHP Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.80) opens a three-game series against Toronto on Friday, opposed by former Met Chris Bassitt (5-4, 3.80).
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