By AARON BRACY
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper homered again off Max Scherzer and the Philadelphia Phillies became the first team to beat the new Mets ace, snapping a four-game skid by topping New York 3-2 Sunday to open a doubleheader.
Harper, using a pink bat for Mother’s Day, drove a 94 mph fastball from Scherzer (4-1) over the wall in right for a solo homer with two outs in the first. He screamed, “I love you, Mom!” into a TV camera before returning to the dugout.
Harper added an RBI single in the third. The reigning NL MVP also homered off Scherzer, his former Washington teammate, on May 1.
Kyle Schwarber, Alec Bohm and Jean Segura each had a pair of hits for the Phillies, who bounced back from Thursday’s 8-7 loss to the Mets in which New York rallied for seven runs in the ninth inning.
“I think we needed that,” Phillies starter Kyle Gibson said. “For the offense to come out and do what they did against Max was big.”
The single-admission doubleheader was part of a makeup after games between the teams were rained out Friday and Saturday.
Scherzer suffered his first loss since last May 30, ending a string of 24 straight starts without a defeat. The streak spanned his starts with the Nationals, Dodgers and Mets.
“Heck of a run,” Scherzer said. “Obviously it takes your teammates to be able to do that. I’ll always say that. It’s also kind of cool to be a part of it.”
“You have to go out there and give your team a chance to win. That’s your job as a starting pitcher to give your team a chance to win and pitch deep in the ballgame. I’ve been doing that, at least giving the team a chance to win, and they’ve been picking me up. It’s been kind of a team stat, but it’s good to have a role in it,” he said.
The three-time Cy Young winner signed a three-year, $130 million free-agent deal with the Mets in the offseason. The Phillies recorded 10 hits against the right-hander, marking just the 14th time in 413 career games Scherzer has allowed double-digit hits. Nine of the hits were singles.
“I know I made a mistake to (Harper), but I was executing pitches,” Scherzer said. “It’s part of baseball for them to get some singles to (fall) in, but I feel like they were getting a lot of singles to fall in. But that’s just part of the game. It’s tough to beat yourself up over that.”
Scherzer gave up three runs in six innings, striking out seven and walking none. He remained 18th all-time in strikeouts with 3,069 career K’s.
Gibson (3-1) gave up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
“You’ve got to capitalize on the opportunities (Scherzer) gives you and we did a good job of that,” Gibson said. “It was a great team win.”
Corey Knebel, after blowing the save on Thursday, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.
Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had two hits apiece for the NL East-leading Mets.
Bryson Stott’s RBI single in the fourth put the Phillies in front 3-0.
The Mets got a pair of runs back in the sixth and threatened in the seventh after reliever Seranthony Dominguez walked Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar to start the frame. But Dominguez recovered to strike out Dominic Smith, Marte and Luis Guillorme in order to keep Philadelphia in front.
The Mets released 2B Robinson Canó prior to the game. The move comes a week after the slumping Cano was designated for assignment despite nearly $45 million remaining on his contract. The Mets announced the news in their pregame notes and after manager Buck Showalter met with reporters.
The 39-year-old Canó sat out last season while serving his second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He batted .195 (8 for 41) with one home run, three RBIs and a paltry .501 OPS in 43 plate appearances for the NL East-leading Mets. Canó has a .302 career batting average with 335 home runs, 1,305 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 17 seasons. He has 2,632 hits, including 571 doubles.
Phillies: Right-handed starters Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin were placed on the COVID-related IL.
Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (3-2, 2.61) opposes Phillies LHP Cristopher Sánchez (0-0, 5.40) in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
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