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Suarez The Road Warrior For Phillies Rotation

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Flushing, NY – Ranger Suarez gave the Phillies seven good innings on the mound at Citi Field Friday night and the Left-Hander threw strikes to a Mets lineup that has made contact during their six game winning streak.

As it was, Mets Right-hander Max Scherzer threw more pitches and lasted seven innings, not getting enough run support. The Phillies and Mets began a three game series that had a playoff atmosphere, though the Mets lead the NL East and the two teams play four games in three days next weekend in Philadelphia.

Under interim manager Rob Thompson, the Phillies are making a run, sandwiched third in the division behind the Braves and in the NL wild card hunt.

Suarez gave the Phillies innings and they pushed a run across in the 10th. The Mets could not get their ghost runner home and the Phillies got the 2-1 win.

But it was Suarez, sacked in the Phillies rotation, that entered with a 6-1 road record and 3.23 ERA, his third career start against the Mets and first at Citi Field. The 26-year old, (Pie de Cuesta, Venezuela )was put on the 15-day injured list with low back strain in late June and had not allowed a run in his last 11.0 innings on the road until the Mets scored one in the second.

“He set the tone,” said Thompson who has guided the Philles to a 41-20 record since taking over for Joe Girardi. “Seven good innings, throwing strikes, hitting his spots, getting weak contact. It was impressive.”

And it was Suarez throwing strikes. There was the fastball, a changeup, and he held the Mets to that one run, a team that scored five or more runs in their last nine games. A sinker had Pete Alonso called out on strikes leading off the 4th inning after walking him in the first inning Suarez was able to stop a Mets offense that makes good contact and the fastball went to work. In the fourth, with Francisco Lindor on first, Darin Ruf went after a fastball that resulted in an inning ending double play.

And the pitch count was what they call economical, 78 through six innings, on three hits. Suarez would complete the night with 93 pitches and 58 went for strikes.

Suarez commented about the playoff atmosphere at Citi Field as the Mets and Phillies continued their division rivalry.

“I’ve never been in a playoff game but it was a real exciting game,” he said through a translator. “ I just went out there and had to do good for my team and keep a low score. My plan is always to be there for my guys.”

The Phillies defense also backed him up, another strong point that Thompson has continued to emphasize. In the Mets sixth inning, outfielder Alec Bohm, a Phillies homegrown player, made a barehanded play and there was that inning ending double play in the fourth.

“Big plays,” Suarez said. “It’s really cool to see that we all came together. To see Bohn playing great defense and great at bats it’s a collective effort and great to see that. “

Bohn got an RBI single in the first inning off Scherzer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning. But the significance of Suarez in the Phillies rotation should not be bypassed.

This fourth start of at least 7.0 innings has added to a rotation along with Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard, two former Mets second in MLB in that fWAR stat which trails the Astros.

Nof bad, though, is Suarez with a 7-1 record on the road in 10 starts with an overall ERA of 3.52.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer with Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube

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