NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard looked unhittable in the first inning Thursday night at Citi Field.
He struck out the side on 14 pitches, flashing his 100-mph fastball. It looked like a long night ahead for the Phillies, but they scored three runs in the second inning and two runs in the third in a 6-4 victory, winning their first series against the Mets since April 8-10, 2016.
"It sure is nice to win a series here against the Mets," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It's always nice to win a series. But against these guys, it was special, as much as they've beat us up over the last year."
"We were able to make some adjustments and put together good at-bats," Joseph said. "I guess a pitcher of that caliber you have to keep the train rolling up and down the lineup, and we did a good job of doing that."
But the Mets came back. Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola threw an 0-2 curveball in the third to Neil Walker, who ripped the ball to right-center field for a three-run home run to make it a one-run game. Syndergaard kept the game close from there, allowing seven hits, five runs (three earned) and striking out 10 in seven innings. But Fernando Salas allowed a solo homer to Franco in the eighth to give the Phillies a two-run lead.
The Phillies had lost each of their previous six series against the Mets, who fell to 43-20 against the Phillies since the beginning of the 2014 season.
The Mets lost for the fifth time in their last six games, scoring only 19 runs over that span. They also lost another player when Yoenis Cespedes left the game with a left hamstring injury. Cespedes will have an MRI Friday morning, but he said doctors told him to expect to be out two to three days.
"We've got to start getting some runs," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to play better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mets miscues prove costly: A Jay Bruce error in the second inning and an Asdrubal Cabrera error in the third allowed the Phillies to score two unearned runs. Bruce fielded a Galvis infield single, flipping the ball between Syndergaard and second baseman Walker at first base. But nobody caught the ball, which allowed Galvis to reach second and Joseph to score. Odubel Herrera's ground ball to Cabrera in the third went between his legs. Herrera later scored on a fielder's choice.
"The fact we didn't make two plays, that turned the tide of the game," Collins said. "On the play at first base, Noah's got to get there. And I don't think I've ever seen Asdrubal Cabrera ever miss a ground ball."
Neris closes it: The Phillies opened the season with Jeanmar Gomez as their closer. Then they moved on to Joaquin Benoit. Then Hector Neris got the shot in the ninth, shutting the door on the Mets.
"You never are comfortable in the game," said Neris, asked if he feels comfortable closing. "You have to do what you need to do, try to close it, get the guys out." More >
"I just want to be able to do at least a serviceable job over there. And I think I'm capable of it." -- Bruce, who played first base for the first time since 2014 and for just the fourth time as a professional
"No. As I said originally, I'm not naming anybody the closer. I was going to use Benoit for the time being. It just occurred to me: It's nice to have two guys who can close. It was a good opportunity for me to use Neris. He came through very well." -- Mackanin, on if the Phillies have a new closer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Syndergaard has now pitched 26 innings this season without walking a batter or allowing a home run, while striking out 30. He's just the third starting pitcher in history to go four starts into a season without allowing a walk or a homer. Stephen Strasburg was the first, but his four starts came late in the 2011 season when he was returning from Tommy John surgery, and they totalled just 18 innings. Adam Wainwright did it in 2013, pitching 29 innings while striking out 28.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: The Phillies open a three-game series against the Braves on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05 ET. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.59 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season. He faces right-hander Bartolo Colon (1-1, 4.24 ERA).
Mets: Right-hander Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.89 ERA) will be on the mound for the Mets on Friday night at Citi Field when they face the Nationals in the first of 19 meetings between the two teams expected to battle for the National League East title. Right-hander Tanner Roark (2-0, 3.50 ERA) starts for the Nationals, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. ET.