NEW YORK (AP) — Trade candidate Zack Wheeler showed off a live arm in his return from the injured list, Jeff McNeil hit the first of four Mets homers and New York beat the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 Friday night.
Wheeler (7-6) struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings in his first start since July 7 due to right shoulder fatigue — an issue he called an impingement. With contending teams watching closely, the right-hander averaged 96.8 mph on his fastball and looked sharp until Adam Frazier clocked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Wheeler allowed three runs, six hits and no walks.
McNeil hit a three-run homer, and Todd Frazier, Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos added solo shots for the Mets. Alonso’s homer was his 34th.
Pirates rookie starter Dario Agrazal (2-1) got roughed up for the first time in his short big league career, and Pittsburgh dropped its sixth straight. The Pirates are 2-13 since the All-Star break.
With Mets closer Edwin Díaz nursing a sore left big toe a day after being hit by a line drive, Seth Lugo pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.
Wheeler retired 12 straight before running into trouble in the sixth. Melky Cabrera led off with a single, and Adam Frazier drove a two-run shot to cut New York’s lead to 4-3. Wheeler got an out and allowed a single to Josh Bell before being pulled after 73 pitches.
Mets fans near the home dugout gave Wheeler a standing ovation as he walked off.
McNeil and Ramos each hit their 10th homers. Todd Frazier clubbed his 14th a day after ending a 1-for-18 skid with two hits.
Agrazal was pulled after allowing Alonso’s one-out homer in the sixth. He gave up five runs on three homers, and his ERA rose from 2.25 to 3.24 in his sixth career start.
Braves 9, Phillies 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. had two hits and three RBIs, Brian McCann hit a solo homer and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on Friday night.
Mike Soroka gave up one run and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings but was removed with the bases loaded and a 5-1 lead. Sean Newcomb (4-1) earned the win by retiring J.T. Realmuto on a soft grounder to end the inning.
The NL East-leading Braves had lost six of eight before their first win in Philadelphia in six games, dating to last season.
The Phillies fell 6 1/2 games behind Atlanta, but is right in the mix for a wild card with the trade deadline coming up next week.
Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta (8-8) allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits in five innings. Arrieta, who is battling bone spurs in his elbow, pitched one-run ball until the fifth.
McCann ignited a four-run fifth with a towering homer into the second deck in right field. Johan Camargo reached on third baseman Maikel Franco’s error and Ender Inciarte walked. They advanced on Soroka’s sacrifice and scored on Acuña’s two-run single to center. Ozzie Albies lined an RBI double to right to make it 5-0.
The Braves scored another four runs in the sixth off Cole Irvin despite getting only one hit. Irvin hit one batter and walked three, including two men with the bases loaded.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 1
TORONTO (AP) — Ryan Yarbrough won his fourth straight decision, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-run single and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Friday night.
After opener Diego Castillo worked a 1-2-3 first, Yarbrough (9-3) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of relief. The left-hander walked one and struck out four.
Chaz Roe went 1 2/3 innings and Colin Poche finished for his first major league save.
The Rays, who had lost seven of nine, won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak from July 13-15. Tampa Bay is 6-1 against Toronto this season.
The Blue Jays, held to one hit by Cleveland starter Shane Bieber on Wednesday, managed four against four Rays pitchers. Three of them came consecutively in the fourth.
Making his fifth big league appearance, Toronto right-hander Jacob Waguespack (1-1) permitted three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
Dodgers 4, Nationals 2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justin Turner hit a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night to open a three-game series.
After the Nationals had retired 22 straight batters, reliever Tony Sipp (1-2) walked Joc Pederson and then gave up a single to Alex Verdugo before exiting with two outs in the eighth. Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled earlier on Friday from Double-A, came in and immediately gave up the Turner blast to center field. Turner has 15 homers this season.
Joe Kelly (4-3) retired Anthony Rendon to end the seventh while Kenley Jansen walked home a run before striking out Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 25th save of the season.
Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez retired the final 20 batters he faced. Sánchez struck out six, while allowing one run on three hits.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed eight hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.