NEW YORK — Kyle Schwarber had four multi-homer games against the Mets in 2021, the most ever by a player against New York in a single season.
After a sluggish start to this season against the Mets with his new team, Schwarber returned to tormenting the Phillies’ NL East rival on Saturday night.
Schwarber launched a two-run homer off Adam Ottavino in the seventh inning that lifted Philadelphia from a one-run deficit into the lead.
And after Odúbel Herrera added an RBI double later in the frame, Rhys Hoskins produced a solo homer in the eighth and Corey Knebel recorded his first four-out save in four seasons, the Phillies had claimed a 4-1 victory at Citi Field.
The victory lifted the Phillies (11-11) back to the .500 mark. They had arrived at Citi Field coming off a 32-run, four-game sweep of the Rockies, but had been held scoreless through the first 15 innings of this series and were no-hit in the opener.
“It was all positive, especially flipping the page from yesterday,” Schwarber said.
Schwarber’s 10 homers against the Mets since the start of the 2021 season are the most by any player during that span, ahead of runner-up Austin Riley’s seven and Ozzie Albies’ five.
Schwarber — who signed a four-year, $79 million contract with Philadelphia in March — has now played in 35 career games against the Mets. His clubs have won 24 of them, good for a .686 winning percentage. He is hitting .305 (36-for-118) with 14 homers and 29 RBIs in those games.
Of the 1,008 players who have at least 100 career plate appearances against the Mets since the club’s inception in 1962, Schwarber trails only Mark McGwire and Paul DeJong in slugging percentage.
“I guess it’s just how it kind of fell,” Schwarber said. “It’s not like I’m trying extra hard against the Mets.”
Schwarber had been hitless in 14 at-bats against the Mets this season until his long ball. He departed for defensive replacement Roman Quinn in the ninth with the Phillies protecting a three-run lead.
Schwarber showed signs of seeing the ball well in Friday’s series opener, when he walked three times in the no-hitter.
“I didn’t chase out of the zone,” he said. “I think that’s a big thing. We want to get these guys in the strike zone. It’s a good pitching staff over there.”
Saturday’s late rally overcame an uneven outing from starter Kyle Gibson, who wanted one throw back.
Gibson allowed no earned runs and only two hits, both of which were knocked down by infielders. However, five walks and his errant throw to center field had allowed the Mets to take a 1-0 lead.
With Brandon Nimmo on first base after a one-out walk in the fifth, Gibson fielded Starling Marte’s would-be double-play comebacker and rushed a throw to Jean Segura covering second. It sailed into center field.
Nimmo, who eventually scored, represented the fourth of five walks issued by Gibson in 4 1/3 innings — the most walks by a Phillies starter since Aaron Nola also had five against the Mets on Sept. 17, 2020.
“Probably if there’s anything I dislike more than walks, it’s making errors,” Gibson said. “I rushed it. I knew Marte was fast. … I turned around and didn’t have my feet set and made a bad throw.”
José Alvarado relieved Gibson with the bases loaded and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to hold the Phillies’ deficit to one run. He had been aiming for ground balls, but welcomed the result.
“I didn’t see the ground ball, but I saw the strikeout,” Alvarado said.
Said Gibson: “The chance they had to kind of step on our necks a little bit was squandered. And I think it gave our offense a little bit of life knowing that they were only down one.”
Alec Bohm’s stellar play at third base prevented earlier damage from the Mets.
Bohm had not played third base for nearly a week after a three-error game against the Mets on April 11. On Saturday night, his fourth-inning defensive play kept the Mets off the scoreboard.
Bohm dove toward the third-base line to keep a two-out grounder from Mark Canha in the infield. Although there was no play at first, Bohm’s stop prevented the ball from scooting into the left-field corner, which would have allowed Eduardo Escobar to score from second base.
Instead, Escobar only advanced to third, where he was stranded.
“That’s probably the most underrated play of the game,” Schwarber said about Bohm’s diving stop.
Manhattan native James Norwood, who logged a scoreless relief inning, earned his first Major League victory, in an all-New York decision over Manhattan native Ottavino. The location and timing were meaningful for Norwood, whose father Mark recently passed away.
“It’s amazing to do it back where I grew up,” Norwood said, “especially with everything that happened a month ago with my dad and all that. It felt great just to do it in New York.”