PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Scott Kingery is earning more playing time with every hit.
Kingery and J.T. Realmuto each had three hits and five RBIs, helping the Philadelphia Phillies cruise to a 14-3 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
Kingery and Maikel Franco hit three-run homers and Realmuto had a pair of two-run doubles in a 10-run first inning. Realmuto also went deep for the Phillies in the fourth.
“I’m feeling good right now and I want to do whatever I can to help the team when I’m in the lineup,” said Kingery, who is batting .524 (11 for 21) in limited opportunities.
Kingery started the game at third base and moved to shortstop after Jean Segura was injured. Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler said it’s getting more difficult to keep his super sub out of the starting lineup.
“There’s a feeling that hitters get when you know where the sweet spot on the barrel is and Scott is at that contact point,” Kapler said.
Kingery, who signed a $24 million, six-year contract last year before playing a game in the majors, had a tough rookie season, batting just .226 while adjusting to a utility role. He went from being an everyday second baseman in the minors to starting at five positions, including 101 games at shortstop.
“Confidence and mindset,” Kingery said when asked what changed this season. “Game experience gives you confidence every time you step on the field.”
His five RBIs were a career high.
Nick Pivetta (2-1) gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings. Mets starter Steven Matz (1-1) allowed eight runs — six earned — without retiring a batter.
“Frustrated to not get out of the first,” Matz said.
Wilson Ramos and Michael Conforto each hit a solo homer for New York.
Realmuto got Philadelphia started in the first with a bases-loaded drive to left-center that scored two. Kingery followed with his first homer to left for a 5-0 lead. After Mets shortstop Amed Rosario booted a grounder for his second error in the inning, Franco crushed one out to straightaway center to chase Matz.
Realmuto lined a two-run double off left fielder Jeff McNeil’s glove to cap the big inning.
Matz had allowed only three earned runs total in his first three starts. The lefty’s ERA rose from 1.65 to 4.96.
“We didn’t make a few plays, first and foremost,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “Rough night when that happens.”
Bryce Harper had a scare when he got hit by a pitch on the left forearm. The slugger stayed in the game after getting checked by a trainer and was 1 for 2 with a walk and three runs.
Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the game, struck out six in four scoreless innings for his first career save. Drew Gagnon went 5 1/3 innings after replacing Matz, giving up six runs — five earned.
Franco, who used to bat in the middle of Philadelphia’s lineup before Harper and Realmuto arrived, leads the team with seven homers and 17 RBIs while hitting in the eighth spot.
Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo left the game because of neck stiffness in the first inning.
Phillies: Segura exited with left hamstring tightness after going 1 for 2 in the first inning. … 1B Rhys Hoskins was out of the lineup because of a sprained left ankle. He was available to pinch-hit and expects to return Wednesday. … RHP David Robertson (elbow) had an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 flexor strain. He’s on the 10-day injured list and is day to day to throw.
RHP Zack Wheeler (0-1, 10.24 ERA) starts for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon and RHP Jake Arrieta (2-1, 2.25) goes for the Phillies. Wheeler is 4-1 with a 3.36 ERA in 10 career starts vs. Philadelphia. Arrieta is 2-3 with a 2.34 mark in 10 career starts vs. New York.
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