The Mets just know that if Zack Wheeler ever puts it all together, he’s going to be a truly unstoppable force. They just didn’t expect that to mean on the mound and in the batter’s box.
Wheeler struck out 11 in seven innings and also hit a two-run double and his first career home run Tuesday night as the Mets beat the Phillies, 9-0, before 26,049 at Citi Field.
“He did everything right,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
Wheeler, who came into his fifth start of the season with a 6.35 ERA, thrilled the home crowd by striking out seven in a row from the second to fourth innings.
And Wheeler got the crowd going with his bat, too.
In his first two times up, the lefthanded batter saw two pitches from righthander Zach Eflin. The first went for a two-run double into the rightfield corner to give the Mets a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The second went over the wall in left-centerfield with an exit velocity of 101.4 miles per hour to make it 4-0 in the fourth. According to MLB.com, Wheeler is the first pitcher this season to throw a 100-mph pitch and hit a 100-mph-plus homer.
“Pitching’s obviously first,” Wheeler said. “But we work hard on our hitting and we take pride in it and we want to go up there and do well as a staff and not give them an easy out.”
The three RBIs are a career high for Wheeler. He is the third Mets pitcher to homer this season, joining Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
The Mets would love Wheeler (2-2, 4.85) to join deGrom, Syndergaard and Steven Matz to give them one heck of a 1-2-3-4 rotation punch. (Maybe then they could even live with Jason Vargas as a No. 5.)
Wheeler allowed five hits and didn’t walk a batter. He struck out in the sixth to finish 2-for-3, got a deserved ovation, and then went out to the mound for the seventh having thrown 98 pitches.
Seven pitches later, the Phillies were out on three grounders and Wheeler’s epic night was done. Of his 105 pitches, 74 were strikes.
“He had a great curveball,” Callaway said. “When he started throwing his curveball early, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re going to be in trouble.’ Had a great slider, threw a couple good splits and his fastball was electric. His mechanics are synced up. He’s feeling good. That’s probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen him throw.”
The Mets (13-10) took over sole possession of first place in the NL East with their second win in a row over the Phillies, who fell one game back.
The Phillies, who were called out by pitcher Jake Arrieta for not looking ready to play in Monday’s series-opening 5-1 Mets victory, looked less ready on Tuesday.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez let a routine grounder go through his legs for an error in the second inning for the Mets’ third run.
The Phillie who looked the most lost was their $330 million man, Bryce Harper. One night after getting ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes, Harper struck out twice and popped out to the catcher in three at-bats against Wheeler.
Even Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan committed an error. The Mets were leading 3-0 with two outs in the fourth when Maikel Franco ended Wheeler’s strikeout streak with a double. Hernandez followed with a single to left. Wathan unwisely sent Franco home, where Wilson Ramos was waiting with a throw from Jeff McNeil. Franco simply gave up and walked into the tag.
Todd Frazier made it 8-0 in the fifth when he hit a two-out grand slam to left off Drew Anderson. Gabe Kapler had ordered an intentional walk of McNeil to get to Frazier. Ramos added an RBI single in the sixth to make it 9-0.
Zack Wheeler’s impressive numbers Tuesday night:
Top fastball velocity
Exit velo on his HR