Phillies, Mets looking for offensive consistency

NEW YORK -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins hopes a late-inning outburst Wednesday night is a sign of things to come for his team. Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin hopes his squad will be driven by its inability to tack on when it had the chance Wednesday.

A pair of teams still looking for offensive consistency will square off Thursday night, when the Mets host the Phillies in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field. New York snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 win Wednesday, when Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer in the sixth and a tiebreaking two-run blast in the eighth.

"Big night for him tonight," Collins said following Bruce's second multi-homer game of the season and the 22nd of his career. "Carried us offensively. Certainly something to maybe get us started."

In 15 games this season, the Mets (8-7) have been limited to two runs or fewer six times but have scored five runs or more seven times.

"I don't believe in must-win games in April, but it was good to get this one tonight," Bruce said. "Just look to build off it. We have a very, very good team that's going to get rolling, and I look forward to that."

Bruce's homers reminded the Phillies (5-9) of the perils of leaving themselves little room for error. Philadelphia carried a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning but missed a chance to extend its advantage by leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.

The Phillies have scored four runs or fewer 11 times, including eight times in their last nine games.

"You kind of knew, especially with these guys who can hit the home run, (that) you'd like to add on three or four more runs," Mackanin said. "That's what big guys do."

The Mets' big guy, 6-foot-6 ace right-hander Noah Syndergaard, is scheduled to take the mound against Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola on Thursday night.

Syndergaard has a 0.95 ERA and has struck out 20 batters without issuing a walk in his first three starts -- the most whiffs without a walk to start a season in team history. However, he has been forced to leave two starts -- including his most recent outing on April 13 -- early due to blister issues on his right hand. Syndergaard is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies.

Nola will also be looking to extend his strong start on Thursday. The 23-year-old has a 3.27 ERA and has struck out 13 while walking just two over his first two starts, a span of 11 innings. Nola lost his lone career start against the Mets on Sept. 2, 2015, when he gave up six runs over four innings as the Phillies fell 9-4 at Citi Field.

Mets right-handed reliever Jeurys Familia is expected to make his season debut Thursday. Familia, who led the majors with a team-record 51 saves last year, was suspended for the first 15 games following a domestic violence incident with his wife in October.
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