Kodai Senga is from Gamagori, Japan, which is about 6,580 miles from his new home.
Segna lowered his home ERA to 1.20 with seven near-perfect innings as the Mets two-hit the Phillies in a 2-0 victory before 36,236 on Tuesday night.
“He was unbelievable, and he likes pitching in Citi,” said Brandon Nimmo, who made a homer-stealing catch in the fourth inning. “So I like that.”
Senga allowed one baserunner – a soft single to left by Kody Clemens (Roger’s son) with one out in the third. Tommy Pham charged it, but had to pull up and play the ball on a bounce.
Senga (5-3, 3.44 ERA) has made five starts at home and five on the road. His road ERA is 6.12.
Is there a reason?
“I think part of the reason is the long travel that we have to go through,” Senga said through an interpreter. “That’s something that’s an adjustment I need to make. Also, pitching at home, we have a lot of great fans here. I don’t want to disappoint them and I just want to win games for us. I think that’s why.”
Manager Buck Showalter said 10 starts might not be enough of a sample size to reach a conclusion about Senga’s home/road splits.
“It’s not like he hasn’t been able to get anybody out on the road,” Showalter said. “It’s just he’s pitched really well at home. It’s not like I’m going to make sure he pitches at home only.”
Senga struck out nine and has 70 in 55 innings over his first 10 starts. He tied Matt Harvey (2012) for the third-most strikeouts in the first 10 appearances by a pitcher in Mets history behind Dwight Gooden (80 in 1984) and Nolan Ryan (74 in 1966 and 68).
Senga induced 22 swings and misses among his 100 pitches (66 strikes). Twelve of those fruitless hacks came on Senga’s patented ghost fork.
But the righthander was no one-trick pony: He had the Phillies flustered with a devastating arsenal that including a fastball that hit the high-90s.
“You can’t cover both pitches when you have to honor both,” Showalter said.
The only pitch that Senga might have wanted back was an 86-mile-per-hour cutter that Nimmo pulled back from homer land.
Nick Castellanos got ahold of the 1-and-2 pitch and sent it 388 feet to left-center. Nimmo – with his glove above the orange home run line – made the catch and then pumped his fist as Senga raised his arms in the air and then put his hands on his head in disbelief.
“I was really glad I was able to help out Kodai,” Nimmo said.
Francisco Lindor gave the Mets the lead on the second pitch of the bottom of the fourth. Lindor’s 10th home run was a no-doubt, 403-foot blast to left-center off Phillies starter Ranger Suarez (0-2, 7.13 ERA), who was charged with two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Eduardo Escobar made it 2-0 with a two-out, seeing-eye RBI single in the seventh. With runners on first and third, Nimmo made a bid for more, but Castellanos returned the robbing by making a diving, backhanded catch in right to end the inning.
Adam Ottavino replaced Senga to start the eighth and walked J.T. Realmuto on four pitches. Realmuto stole second, but Jeff McNeil immediately signaled to the dugout to challenge the call. McNeil was right, as Realmuto was ruled out via replay review.
Ottavino retired the next two batters. In the ninth, David Robertson allowed a one-out single to pinch hitter Josh Harrison before getting Bryson Stott to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play for his ninth save.
The Mets improved to 28-27. The Phillies fell to 25-29.
Senga, in his introductory news conference, said the team he was looking forward to facing the most was the Phillies, most likely because they were in the World Series last season. Now he has.
“Obviously, I was very excited and also amped up to face them,” he said. “But not only against the Phillies, but against the rest of the league. I want to keep it up and maintain good performance.”