For the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday night's fundamentally sound victory over the National League East-leading New York Mets further solidified the internal belief they're a playoff-caliber team.
The Mets felt the same way even in a rare defeat.
The Phillies will look to lock up a series winSaturday night when they visit the Mets in the middle game of a three-game series between the rivals.
Aaron Nola (8-8, 3.17 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies against Jacob deGrom (1-0, 2.53) in a battle of right-handers.
The Phillies eked out a 2-1, 10-inning win Friday night as Alec Bohm collected both RBIs via a first-inning single and a 10th-inning sacrifice fly.
The win -- which improved the Phillies to 41-20 under interim manager Rob Thomson -- was highlighted by multiple impressive defensive plays, days after Mets announcer Keith Hernandez said he was happy to miss the series because Philadelphia plays poor defense.
The Phillies saved their best for a pair of plays involving Mets oufielder Starling Marte. Bohm, oft-maligned for his defense at third base, threw out Marte with a barehanded throw in the sixth.
In the ninth, left fielder Matt Vierling threw out Marte, the potential winning run, to end the ninth when Marte tried scoring on a line out by pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach.
"I love it. I love it," Thomson said. "They played well. Poise across the board is really good."
The victory kept the Phillies a half-game ahead of the San Diego Padres in the race for the second of the three wild cards in the NL and increased their lead over the Milwaukee Brewers -- the fourth team in the wild-card race -- to 2 1/2 games.
"That's just (the) type (of) atmosphere you're going to face in the playoffs," Thomson said of Friday night's win. "So it's good to get that experience."
The Mets, who had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time in the past 18 games, got more experience in adjusting on the fly when second baseman Jeff McNeil (thumb laceration) and third baseman Eduardo Escobar (stiff left side) left in the early innings.
McNeil needed stitches to close the cut, sustained when he was accidentally stepped on by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins during a tag play, and Escobar was to undergo an ultrasound and an MRI.
With Luis Guillorme serving as the Mets' lone backup infielder, manager Buck Showalter utilized outfielder Mark Canha at third base after Escobar's departure. It was Canha's first game at third base since 2016.
"More guys are going to get opportunities to go out there and have success," said Max Scherzer, who tossed seven innings in his eighth start since missing almost seven weeks due to an oblique injury. "Everybody who's getting their opportunity has done something with it. And that's the definition of a great team, and that's why we have the record we have so far."
Nola and deGrom each earned the win in their most recent starts last Sunday.
Nola allowed one run over six innings as the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 13-1. In his second start of the season, deGrom recorded his first victory after retiring the first 17 batters he faced and allowing just one hit -- a two-run homer by Dansby Swanson -- over 5 2/3 innings in the Mets' 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Nola is 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 23 career starts against the Mets; deGrom is 8-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 19 starts against the Phillies.
--Field Level Media