Flores brushes off brush-back, then blows away the Phils
At first, Wilmer Flores thought he’d been brushed by a pitch by Phillies reliever Victor Arano. Unluckily for the Phillies Monday night, the replays indicated otherwise.
Flores went back into the box and before too long, Arano would groove a 3-1 four-seamer up in the strike zone and Flores did what he does best. His blast off the left field foul pole gave the Mets a 4-3 victory in 10 innings in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader.
Not that it seemed familiar or anything.
It was the fourth career walkoff home run for Flores, tying for the Mets’ franchise lead with Cleon Jones, Chris Jones, Kevin McReynolds and Mike Piazza. Flores has a franchisehigh 10 walk-off RBIs now, too.
“I don’t know if anybody has a knack for walk-off home runs,” Phils manager Gabe Kapler said, “but that was certainly a big one.”
What made it hurt worse was the way the Phillies could have, should have had the game under control prior to that. The Phillies left 12 men on base. Doing much of that damage was slumping Odubel Herrera (0-for-5) and Scott Kingery, each of whom left four runners on base.
“We did have some chances to score runs and ultimately we didn’t get the big hit in the big moment,” Kapler said. “We’ve had that happen from time to time during the season. It’s part of baseball. It’s a round ball, a round bat. Swing and miss sometimes. You put the ball in the seats sometimes. And today in Game 1 we didn’t get the big hit.”
*** Starting pitcher Zach Eflin, bothered in his last outing by a blister on a finger on his pitching hand because he’d “cut a nail too short,” admitted he wasn’t 100 percent in Game 1 against the Mets.
But that wasn’t because of his nail-trimming inabilities.
“Not like it did last outing,” Eflin said when asked if the finger was bothering him. “It was there today but it wasn’t concerning at all. So it was just frustrating not having your stuff.”
Eflin went just five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and striking out four. He threw just 84 pitches, after being lifted after just 82 in his previous outing.
“I thought I battled and was able to kind of limit the damage that was on base at the time,” Eflin said. “I didn’t really have slider command. I didn’t have curveball command. I threw some changeups that were kind of up in the zone. My heater, four-seam, I felt some really good ones but at times I just didn’t get in enough or didn’t sink enough. But I thought they hit some really good pitches.
“At the end of the day you are going to run into starts like that.”
FRANK FRANKLIN II — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Mets’ Wilmer Flores, right, hugs teammate Jose Reyes after hitting a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of the first game of a doubleheader against the Phillies Monday night at Citi Field.