Rising Phillies try to keep Mets in slump

The Philadelphia Phillies will be looking for their third straight victory when they host the New York Mets on Wednesday.

The Phillies won the first two games of the four-game series by hitting four home runs in each contest. It was the first time Philadelphia accomplished that feat in consecutive games since May 21-22, 2009. The Phillies wound up advancing to the World Series that year.

"Sometimes you're going to get the job done and sometimes you're not," Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper said. "We know what kind of lineup we can be. And if we do that and score some runs and stay positive, we can finish this half off strong."

Maikel Franco homered for the second straight game and was joined Tuesday by Rhys Hoskins, Brad Miller and Scott Kingery.

"When you're losing games, it's no fun," Philadelphia shortstop Jean Segura said. "When you're winning, it's fun."

The Phillies will hand the ball Wednesday to right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.54 ERA). In Pivetta's last start on Thursday, he gave up six runs and two home runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss against the Washington Nationals.

Pivetta is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts since rejoining the rotation. He is 3-2 against the Mets in his career, with a 6.23 ERA in six starts spanning 30 1/3 innings.

If the Phillies are able to continue this offensive surge, Pivetta likely would gain extra confidence. On Monday, the Phillies pounded out a season-best 19 hits to go along with 13 runs. Eight home runs in two games have also helped immensely.

"Sometimes the swagger pregame leads to a swagger in game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

The Mets will attempt to snap a three-game skid. To do so, second baseman Robinson Cano must continue to build on his 2-for-4 effort on Tuesday. He is just 6-for-34 (.176) since coming off the injured list on June 16 following his recovery from a quad strain.

Cano is only hitting .228.

"We have to get him going," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "We're going to continue trying everything we can to get him comfortably to the point where he's going to have more success."

Jeff McNeil remained hot with four hits in the Tuesday loss. McNeil is hitting .348, the second-highest average in the majors.

However, the Mets' bullpen needs to improve, as the relievers have posted a 7.44 ERA in the month of June.

The Mets will turn to Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.75 ERA) on Wednesday. In Vargas' last start, Friday against the Chicago Cubs, he left with a calf cramp, lasting only 4 2/3 innings. Vargas gave up four runs, two earned, on four hits with two walks. He's 2-1 against Philadelphia in his career, with a 3.51 ERA in six appearances, four of them starts.

Over the past few days, Vargas has seen his name in the public eye because he was fined a reported $10,000 for a verbal altercation with a reporter from Newsday.

"It's unfortunate for all parties," Vargas said in a statement to the media. "An unfortunate distraction."

--Field Level Media
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