PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For once, Zack Wheeler was able to smile after a start. The rest of the Mets were pretty happy, too.
Wheeler struck out nine in 6 1-3 innings and Chris Young hit a two-run homer to lead New York to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night in the opener of a rare five-game series.
Wheeler (2-5) looked nothing like the pitcher who entered with a 4.63 ERA and one win in 10 starts this season. Mixing a fastball that hit the high 90s and a slow, knee-buckling breaking ball, the right-hander retired eight of the first 10 batters via strikeout.
Wheeler had sent down 14 straight batters until Marlon Byrd lofted the first pitch he saw with one out in the seventh over the wall in right for his seventh homer. That was the end of the evening for Wheeler, who matched his season high in innings while giving up the lone run and four hits with no walks.
"It feels really good, obviously," Wheeler said. "I can actually smile after a start now. I knew I had it today. I could locate all my pitches. It's easy when you can locate all your pitches and everything's working."
Mets manager Terry Collis said Wheeler "pretty much took control of the game. He really was throwing well. Tonight he dominated this game."
The Mets, who opened an 11-game road trip, matched a season best with their third straight victory while beating the Phillies for the sixth straight time at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies set a season high with 15 strikeouts against four Mets pitchers.
"Wheeler had real good stuff and we just couldn't pull the trigger on his fastball," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We couldn't get anything going."
The series originally was scheduled for four games, but the teams will make up their April 30 rainout on Monday, which originally was a day off for both teams.
Jenrry Mejia struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances. Mejia hasn't allowed an earned run in nine relief outings since being moved to the bullpen on May 12 after making seven starts.
"The entire pitching tonight. . You're just sitting in the dugout saying, 'Wow!'" Collins said. "Good stuff, good location, really a well-pitched game."