NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Nola and the Phillies needed a big hit. Rhys Hoskins came through at just the right time.
A slumping Hoskins launched a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning to make Nola a winner, and Philadelphia edged the New York Mets 4-3 on Friday night.
“Rhys’ homer was huge. Man, was that enormous,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “It injected a lot of life, it injected a lot of enthusiasm into the dugout.”
Carlos Santana lined an early two-run shot for the Phillies, who began the day trailing Atlanta by 3½ games in the NL East. The first-place Braves played later at Arizona.
Nola (16-4) bounced back from a rare rough outing, striking out eight over seven innings to match Washington ace Max Scherzer for the National League lead in wins. Those two are in a tight race with Mets star Jacob deGrom for the NL Cy Young Award, and Nola helped his cause Friday with deGrom sitting in the opposite dugout.
“I think it was a special moment for Nola to see that happen and kind of getting the win, Cy Young race, the whole drama and everything that’s going on,” Kapler said. “Game in a playoff chase with so much on the line.”
Nola walked one and gave up three hits, including Dominic Smith’s tying homer in the seventh. Hoskins led off the eighth with his 28th home run, connecting on a 97 mph fastball from Tyler Bashlor (0-3) to snap an 0-for-14 slide.
The slugger watched the ball fly to left field and gave his bat a little flip as he trotted toward first base.
“Yeah, I’m buying him dinner tomorrow,” Nola said with a smile.
Seranthony Dominguez tossed a perfect inning and Tommy Hunter earned his fourth save . They needed only 13 pitches between them to get the final six outs.
Jay Bruce flied out to the center-field fence in the ninth.
Bruce homered leading off the second, and rookie Jeff McNeil drove in a run with a hit-and-run double for the Mets. Nola, however, improved to 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA in five starts against New York this year.
“He’s a bulldog and he never gives in,” Mets leadoff batter Brandon Nimmo said.
Nola became the first Phillies pitcher to win 16 games in a season since Cole Hamels won 17 in 2012.
“My focus is fully with this team right now,” Nola said. “Trying to get some wins, trying to win the division title.”
Asdrubal Cabrera put the Phillies up 3-2 with an RBI single off reliever Eric Hanhold in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Odubel Herrera opened the inning with a double.
Before the game, Cabrera doffed his cap to the crowd when the Mets played a video tribute for him. New York traded the veteran infielder to Philadelphia in late July.
Mets starter Steven Matz allowed two runs and three hits with eight strikeouts in five innings. But he was outlasted by Nola despite some sensational Mets defense .
“Everything explodes out of his hand, and he’s got command of everything,” New York outfielder Michael Conforto said. “There definitely was that feeling — I can tell you from the hitters — just, let’s really try to get this guy tonight. We didn’t quite do enough to get the win.”
Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco said his sore right wrist was feeling better. An MRI came back clean, and Franco was available off the bench after missing the team’s previous series in Miami. ... Speedy OF Roman Quinn sat out after hitting a ball off his foot. He was available off the bench, Kapler said.
Mets: Kevin Plawecki got hit by a pitch near his left wrist in the second. The catcher was checked by manager Mickey Callaway and a trainer, but remained in the game. Plawecki exited Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium after getting plunked in the ribs and was sent for tests. ... RHP Anthony Swarzak (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to face 3B David Wright during a simulated game Saturday at Citi Field. The team would like Swarzak to throw 20 pitches. If he comes out of the session OK, he would likely be activated in the next day or two, Callaway said. Swarzak has been sidelined since Aug. 4. Wright, who hasn’t played in the majors since May 2016, is attempting a comeback from neck, back and shoulder injuries. ... Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco received an epidural for a bulging disk in his back, and the club hopes he’ll be able to return in about a week. ... After taking a line drive off his chest during Wednesday’s outing, RHP Zack Wheeler feels fine and is scheduled to make his next start.
Aaron Altherr was in center field for the Phillies, his first major league start since July 20. He was demoted to the minors two days later and brought back Sept. 1. Altherr doubled his first time up and finished 1 for 2. ... Philadelphia recalled catcher Andrew Knapp from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (9-6, 4.05 ERA) faces RHP Noah Syndergaard (10-3, 3.33) in the middle game of the series Saturday night. Syndergaard is coming off his first career complete game, a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts in San Francisco. He lost at Philadelphia on Aug. 17.
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