Phils complete sweep, hurt Mets’ home-field chances; Cespedes sits
The New York Mets are going home and hoping to stay there for a while.
Jerad Eickhoff struck out 10 in seven dominant innings, Darin Ruf hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the NL East champion Mets 3-0 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
The Mets have a half-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the division series, which begins next Friday. Los Angeles plays at San Francisco on Thursday afternoon. New York holds the tiebreaker so its magic number to clinch is three.
"We talked about the importance of coming here and winning games and then we didn’t win any," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We can’t worry about today. It’s over. Focus on tomorrow."
The Mets host the Washington Nationals over the weekend and expect outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to return to the lineup. Cespedes, as expected, didn’t play after bruising two fingers on his left hand when he was hit by a pitch Wednesday night. Collins said Cespedes told him he was available, but he gave him the day off.
"Just the way the series went, you knew there was going to be an energy drain," Collins said. "We rested some guys."
The Phillies lost 14 of 16 to the Mets before sweeping them in a three-game series for the first time since April 26-28, 2013, at Citi Field. Philadelphia needs to win one of its last three games against Miami to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since 1961.
An announced crowd of 13,238 was the smallest in the 12-year history of Citizens Bank Park. Only several hundred fans were in the stands for a game that was moved up seven hours because heavy rain is expected later.
Eickhoff (3-3) gave up two infield singles, two doubles and no walks while tying his career-best with 10 strikeouts for the second consecutive start. Jerome Williams pitched the eighth, and Luis Garcia finished off the six-hitter for his second save in four tries.
"He was outstanding," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He showed a lot of guts. He’s a great competitor."
Rookie Sean Gilmartin (3-2) made his first career start for the Mets after 49 relief appearances. He allowed two runs and three hits in five innings.
"Overall, I felt good," Gilmartin said. "I just wanted to go out there and give the team a lift. My focus was to get quick innings."
Gilmartin didn’t give up a hit until Jeff Francoeur doubled with two outs in the fourth. Ruf followed with a line drive deep into the empty seats in left field. Ruf has eight homers and 22 RBI in 93 at-bats against left-handers.
Andres Blanco hit a solo homer in the eighth off Dario Alvarez.
Eickhoff, one of several prospects the Phillies acquired from Texas in the trade for Cole Hamels, has been impressive. He allowed three runs or less in seven of eight starts and has a 2.65 ERA.
Eickhoff pumped his fist and pounded his glove after striking out Juan Lagares on his final pitch to leave two runners on in the seventh.
The Mets’ streak of scoring at least three runs in 33 consecutive road games ended. It was the longest such streak in the NL since 1900.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz, who was scratched from Wednesday’s start because of a back injury, is slated to pitch Saturday or Sunday. … SS Wilmer Flores (back spasms) is "pretty stiff," according to Collins. He might not be ready Friday. … 3B Juan Uribe (chest) is scheduled for tests on Friday.
Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco was activated from the disabled list and should play Friday. Franco has been out with a broken wrist since Aug. 12.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.34) starts the opener of a three-game series against Washington.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang (6-15, 4.86) opens a three-game series against Miami. LHP Justin Nicolino (4-4, 4.16) starts for the Marlins.