PHILADELPHIA — When the opener of the Mets and Phillies’ doubleheader Thursday devolved into a theatre of the absurd, Scott Kingery, an infielder without a hit all month, took the mound to face Jerry Blevins, a 15-year professional reliever hitless in four career at-bats.
And Blevins singled. His line drive to center in the eighth drove in just another run in a 24-4 Mets win — the most lopsided victory in franchise history, two weeks after the most lopsided loss in franchise history. The Phillies took the second game, 9-6, after Steven Matz gave up six runs (four earned) in two innings in his return from the disabled list.
The Mets (52-68) set club records for runs in a single game and for hits (25) in a nine-inning game. That came on the heels of a 16-run, 19-hit night Wednesday against the Orioles. They were the first National League team to score at least 15 runs in consecutive games since the New York Giants on Aug. 2-4, 1933.
“The guys are swinging the bats well,” an understated Mickey Callaway said. “Covering pitches, going the opposite way when they need to. I think all their hard work has been paying off.”
In the nightcap, the Mets scored twice in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate, but Austin Jackson and Jose Bautista struck out swinging to end it.
The Mets blew the opener open in the fifth inning, when they tallied 10 runs — the same number they scored from June 2-13. They totaled more than half as many runs in this two-day span (46) as they did in June (89).
Kevin Plawecki (4-for-4, upping his average to .238) walked twice in the big frame, and Bautista (seven RBIs) hit a grand slam. Ranger Suarez (four innings, eight runs, four earned) gave way to reliever Mark Leiter Jr., who gave up seven runs, all unearned. The 15-batter mess included a run-scoring balk and two Phillies errors.
Amed Rosario (four runs, three RBIs) had a career-high four hits, including a home run on the first pitch of the game. (He later doubled on the first pitch of the second game). Jackson, Wilmer Flores and Michael Conforto all had three hits and multiple runs scored.
That more than covered for Corey Oswalt, who allowed four home runs in six innings.
All the while, Callaway was empathetic toward the Phillies and manager Gabe Kapler, who used position players Roman Quinn and Kingery to pitch the final three innings. On July 31, the Mets lost to the Nationals, 25-4.
“You do feel for the other team,” Callaway said. “That’s one of the reasons we sent Blevins up here. We didn’t feel like we wanted to pile on if we didn’t have to. It’s tough. It’s not fun being their team over there and having to go through that.”
As for Blevins? He had a career 0-for-3 line in the majors (0-for-1 in the minors) before going up first-pitch swinging against Kingery’s lobs.
“There’s nothing better,” Blevins said. “When I tell the story, it’ll be, I turned around 95 (mph).”
Blevins has his own bats and practices his swing.
“Once every couple of weeks, just to get in the cage and pretend that I’m athletic and try out some different muscles,” Blevins said. “But it’s fun, just to hit. Hitting is so much fun. Practicing pitching gets a little tedious at times, but you get to hit — everybody enjoys hitting. When you come to the field, nobody is like, ‘Hey, can I go throw a bullpen?’ Everybody is like, ‘Hey, will you let me hit on the field?’ Because it’s more fun.”
Around the bases
Big numbers from the Mets' 24-4 win over Philadelphia
Runs 24 (franchise record)
Hits 25 (franchise record for nine-inning game)
RBIs 19 (Bautista led with 7)
HRs 3 (Rosario, Bautista, Conforto)
Unearned Runs 7 (Phillies made four errors)