|Nola, Phillies seek four-game sweep of Mets|
After an impressive comeback win, the Philadelphia Phillies will aim for a four-game series sweep of the visiting New York Mets on Thursday afternoon.
The Phillies rallied from a 4-0 deficit for a 5-4 win on Wednesday when Jay Bruce doubled to deep center field in the 10th inning to score pinch runner Roman Quinn from second base.
Philadelphia had lost seven in a row before reversing its fortunes against the Mets, with all three wins arriving in comeback fashion.
Third baseman Maikel Franco had another hit on Wednesday and continued his torrid offensive pace in this series. Franco homered in each of the first two games and is 5-for-11 in the set with five RBIs.
"Last year, I was in the same situation (losing playing time after an extended slump)," Franco told reporters. "So this year, I understand. I can control my emotions more and I know and understand everything. So I just do what I can control."
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said that he will continue to plug Franco into the lineup as long as the 26-year-old is playing at this type of level.
"He's swung the bat good, and we'll try to ride that confidence for sure," Kapler said.
The Phillies will hand the ball Thursday to right-hander Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55 ERA). Nola has a 5.55 ERA in four starts in June after posting a 2.50 ERA in seven starts between April 25-May 29.
In Nola's last start, he was effective with a 10-strikeout performance, the 10th time he had accomplished the feat in his career. Nola only allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings in a 2-1 loss against the Miami Marlins.
If Nola can muster a strong start, the Phillies will have a chance at a four-game series sweep.
"We never feel like we're out of a game," Kapler said.
The Mets have lost four in a row entering the series finale.
Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith each homered on Wednesday as the Mets built a four-run advantage before falling short. It was the seventh straight game the Mets put together multiple home runs, the longest streak in franchise history. The struggling Mets are only 2-5 in that span.
New York will attempt to win when it sends Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69 ERA) to the mound.
Last Saturday, Wheeler had a strong outing against the Chicago Cubs in allowing one run and striking out five in seven innings during a 10-2 win. Wheeler retired 15 straight during one stretch and looked much stronger than the pitcher who surrendered 11 home runs in his previous seven starts.
"He did a really good job stifling a good offense," teammate Pete Alonso told reporters of Wheeler's effort. "That lineup is no joke, and for him to come out the way he did, that was awesome for us."
Giving up home runs had been an issue much of the season, but Wheeler hopes the outing at Wrigley Field was a step in the right direction.
"I felt good the past few starts," Wheeler told reporters, "but finally the results were there, and I'm very happy with it. The big lead, you're glad to have it, but you have to go out there and pitch like there are zeros on the board."
--Field Level Media