PHILADELPHIA — Steven Matz still hasn’t won a start since June 28, but on Saturday night, he showed signs of emerging from a personal tailspin.
In the Mets’ 3-1 loss to the Phillies, Matz allowed two runs in 5 2⁄3 innings, his longest outing since he tossed seven shutout innings on July 3. He walked two and struck out one.
Without context, it was an unremarkable outing, but it was a needed reprieve from the drubbings he had been absorbing. In his previous six outings, he posted a 11.03 ERA and opponents had a staggering 1.149 OPS, the result of spotty command.
“He was much, much better,” manager Terry Collins said.
Yoenis Cespedes hit his 14th home run to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the fourth. He has homered in consecutive games.
Matz tossed four no-hit innings before encountering trouble in the fifth. With two outs, Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis delivered consecutive run-scoring singles to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
After retiring the first two batters in the sixth, Matz plunked Nick Williams, prompting Collins to end his night after 99 pitches. It wasn’t a victory, but Matz showed signs of the kind of progress the Mets (52-62) want to see as they plan for 2018.
After poring through video, he said he spotted a tendency to tense up during his starts. That slight adjustment paid off. Said Matz: “I’ve just got to get back to being free and easy.”
Notes & quotes: Jacob deGrom is on target to pitch on Tuesday night against the Yankees. He was struck on the right triceps by a liner on Thursday night . . . Shortstop Amed Rosario collected his first big-league double in the third but was thrown out at the plate on a double steal . . . Robert Gsellman (hamstring) tossed six shutout innings in a rehab assignment on Friday for Double-A Binghamton.