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Bruce Cuts Loose: Phillies 8, Mets 3

Heading into the All-Star break on a high note

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies closed out the unofficial first half of the season Sunday with an 8-3 win over the Mets that probably conformed pretty well to the template club brass had in mind when they put this team together last winter. The offense banged out 13 hits, including three homers; ace Aaron Nola cruised; and everything else was more or less good enough.

The team shook off any lingering effects of last night’s frustrating loss by jumping on Mets starter Zack Wheeler, going single-lineout-single-double-double-single to score four runs before taking the field. Ex-Met Jay Bruce had the last of those early run-scoring hits, then accounted for the Phillies’ next three runs with two long home runs, his 23rd and 24th of the year, in the sixth and eighth innings.

After another big series against his former team, Bruce is hitting .291/.308/.641 with 10 homers in his 28 games as a Phillie. The man he replaced as the everyday left fielder strongly approves:

Rhys Hoskins wrapped the Phillies’ scoring with his 20th home run off Mets designated pitching goon Wilmer Font. Following his headhunting of Scott Kingery last month, and Jake Arrieta’s much less malicious/competent plunking of multiple Mets with errant change-ups Saturday night, Font fired a fastball into Hoskins’ thigh in the 7th. He nearly hit him again in the 9th before Rhys took him out to left field.

For his part, Nola continued his recent superb run, holding the Mets without a hit through the first five innings before surrendering a two-run homer to New York’s rookie sensation Pete Alonso, who tied Dave Kingman’s Mets club record with his 30th homer before the all-star break. Nola ran into trouble in the seventh, putting two men on with two outs and the Phils up 6-2, but Adam Morgan ended the threat by inducing a Jeff McNeil flyout. Nola finishes the first half with an 8-2 record and a 3.74 ERA, with a sparkling 0.61 mark over his last four starts.

With the win, the Phillies improved to 9-4 against the Mets on the season, already the most wins they’ve had in any season against New York since 2013. Heading into the break, they’ll be a half-game up or a half-game back of the second and final National League wildcard spot, depending on the outcome of the Brewers game.