PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Marcus Stroman didn’t miss a step after sitting out last season.
The right-hander tossed six sharp innings in his first start since 2019, Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso each hit a two-run homer and the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-4 Tuesday night for their first win of the year.
Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer for Philadelphia, which sought its first 5-0 start since 1915.
Stroman (1-0) allowed one run and three hits before giving way to a bullpen that wasted Jacob deGrom’s masterful performance a night earlier. He got 15 of his 18 outs on grounders.
“Whenever I’ve been good, that’s my forte,” Stroman said. “I’ve never been someone who prides myself on strikeouts.”
Stroman opted out in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. He was excited to return to the mound and pitch in front of fans.
“I felt great,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence when I’m out there. I feel like I can compete against anybody on any night.”
Phillies starter Chase Anderson (0-1) permitted two runs and two hits over five innings in his first start with his new team. Vince Velasquez struck out the side in the sixth but walked four batters in the seventh. All four scored as the Mets extended their lead to 6-1.
Brandon Nimmo drew the walk that forced in New York’s third run and chased Velasquez. Francisco Lindor hit a sacrifice fly off Brandon Kintzler to make it 4-1. Another run scored when Kevin Pillar stole home as Nimmo swiped second base and catcher J.T. Realmuto’s throw to second bounced off Gregorius’ glove. Michael Conforto’s RBI double tacked on another run.
“He hasn’t been on the mound in a competitive situation in a while,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Velasquez. “It’s hard to explain. We’re gonna need Vinny. We’re gonna need all these guys to contribute.”
Pinch-hitter Rhys Hoskins followed Adam Haseley’s double with an RBI single off Miguel Castro in the seventh. Castro escaped further trouble by retiring Bryce Harper on a deep drive to center with runners on second and third.
Trevor May pitched out of a jam with runners on second and third in the eighth, striking out Brad Miller and Roman Quinn.
Alonso connected off David Hale in the ninth, drawing “Let’s Go Mets!” chants from blue-and-orange-clad fans who made the trip to Philly.
The Mets opened their season Monday after a three-game series at Washington was postponed because of a coronavirus breakout among the Nationals.
ROAD TO 70
Alonso became the fastest player to reach 70 career homers, surpassing Aaron Judge. Alonso did it in his 220th game, 11 fewer than Judge.
Mets manager Luis Rojas opened his news conference by holding up the ball caught for the final out and saying the team will give it to new owner Steve Cohen.
“It was teamwork bringing it in so we can present it to Steve,” Rojas said.
After the game, Cohen wrote on Twitter: “See, that was easy.”
The Mets have hit 221 home runs in Citizens Bank Park since Philadelphia’s hitter-friendly ballpark opened in 2004. That’s the highest total by an opponent, 29 more than Atlanta.
Mets: 3B J.D. Davis exited after a 91 mph fastball hit his left hand in the second inning. X-rays were negative. He’s day to day with a bruise. Rojas said Davis may get additional X-rays on Wednesday.
Phillies: LHP Jose Alvarado and RHPs Connor Brogdon and Sam Coonrod weren’t available. Alvarado earned the save Monday night when closer Hector Neris wasn’t available.
RHP Aaron Nola (0-0, 2.70 ERA) makes his second start for the Phillies, and LHP David Peterson takes the mound for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.
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