PHILADELPHIA — Tylor Megill dazzled on opening night, but if he wanted to earn street cred, this was his chance to face off against a lineup of big boys in a baseball stadium.
On Tuesday night, he left the Mets in approval.
Exploding with his improved heat, the right-hander stifled the Phillies in the sixth inning, leading a 2-0 win at Citizens Bank Park that ended the Mets’ two-game skid.
Megill, in the rotation because Jacob deGrom is sidelined with a stress reaction on his right shoulder blade, ran his scoreless streak to 10¹/₃ innings to start the season. He pitched five scoreless innings on opening night in Washington, followed by another 5 ¹/₃ in this gem. Dating back to his last start last year, Megill’s scoreless streak is 15¹/₃ innings.
“All my stuff is working great right now,” Megill said. “I just gotta keep coming out and…keep getting ahead of the batters.”
The right-hander peaked at 98.9 mph with a four-seam fastball in the first set and averaged 96.7 mph overall with the pitch, muzzling a roster that included Kyle Schwarber, JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos . Overall, Megill allowed three hits and struck out five. He still hasn’t walked a hitter this season.
“The game plan was to attack [with] the fastball and compensate them with off-speed speed for strikes in the zone, so they have to respect the fastball a little more,” Megill said. “I think I did a pretty good job overall pitching tonight.”
Last season, Megill threw 130 ¹/₃ combined innings between the minors and the majors, a number manager Buck Showalter cited in his decision to retire the right-hander after just 76 pitches. Typically, young pitchers increase their workload in increments of 20 to 30 innings from season to season.
“He came into the sixth inning tonight, that’s huge,” Showalter said. “We have to be careful with the round increment jump because we try to stay there. It was good, especially the second time around to order. He was good again.
Showalter added: “He also serves when needed, with a few of our pitchers down.”
Taijuan Walker was the last pitcher to be on the disabled list. The right-hander was diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder on Tuesday and will miss at least one start.
After two straight games in which the bullpen squandered leads, the Mets got the relief they needed, as Chasen Shreve, Drew Smith and Edwin Diaz combined on 3 ²/₃ scoreless innings to protect the head. Smith was particularly impressive with 1 ²/₃ scoreless innings, with three strikeouts, giving Diaz the ball for his first save. Realmuto and Castellanos hit field singles in the ninth, but Diaz knocked out Rhys Hoskins on a slider to end it. Diaz threw five straight sliders to exit this final.
“I kept flapping my slider and they kept flapping, so why change my mentality?” said Diaz, who was activated from the mourners list before the game, following the death of his grandfather on Friday.
Shreve got the final two outs in the sixth, out Schwarber and out Realmuto after Megill allowed a first single to Johan Camargo and Simon Muzziotti sacrificed it to second.
“They’re one of the best offensive teams you’ll see all year,” Showalter said. “To shut them out in their ballpark is quite a tribute to the pitching staff and [pitching coach] Jeremy [Hefner].”
Francisco Lindor’s RBI single in the eighth gave the Mets an insurance run after Starling Marte stole second base in the inning.
Brandon Nimmo hammered a 2-1 change from Wheeler for a two-out homer in the fifth that produced the game’s first inning. Zack Wheeler was retired after the home run, finished after 4 ²/₃ innings in which he allowed two hits, hit two batters and walked one. The right-hander only threw 65 pitches.
Wheeler beat Marte and Pete Alonso in the first inning, giving the Mets seven hits in six games, which leads the major leagues. A walk to Eduardo Escobar charged the bases, but Robinson Cano struck to end the threat.