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Jerad Eickhoff solid in 3rd career start but Phillies drop 10th straight to Mets, 3-1

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NEW YORK — Jerad Eickhoff is fitting right in with the Phillies: He's already lost twice to the New York Mets.

Outdone on the mound and at the plate by a pitcher 17 years his senior, the rookie right-hander nevertheless gave Philadelphia another reason to be encouraged about his potential.

Eickhoff allowed two home runs and a costly hit by Bartolo Colon, but went seven innings in a 3-1 defeat Monday night.

"It's a quality start," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "I'll take it every time. He did a good job. ... Just a few mistakes. A couple of fastballs that got up in the zone.

"I like his demeanor on the mound," Mackanin added. "You've got to be happy with his performance."

Colon breezed through eight snappy innings and the Mets got homers from Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto to extend their dominant run against the Phillies.

The NL East leaders improved to 13-1 versus last-place Philadelphia this season with their 10th consecutive win over their division rival. They have won 24 of 29 against the Phillies dating to last year.

"We're going to take it to them the next two days," Mackanin said. "We've got to beat them."

Eickhoff, acquired from Texas in the blockbuster trade for Cole Hamels, allowed four hits and has a 2.84 ERA after three major league starts.

"I could always be better. I'm just trying to improve each start and take something from each team and make the most of it," Eickhoff said. "I'm still attacking like I would at Double-and-Triple-A, wherever."

Conforto hit a solo shot off Eickhoff (1-2) in the fifth, an opposite-field drive to left-center.

Colon singled with two outs for his career-best seventh hit of the season, and Granderson homered to right.

"I think he learned that you can't take pitchers for granted, especially a guy that just swings," Mackanin said.

PHOTO: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp and New York Mets' Curtis Granderson (3) watch Granderson's two-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Citi Field on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp and New York Mets' Curtis Granderson (3) watch Granderson's two-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Citi Field on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Colon (12-11) was lifted for a pinch-hitter after throwing 73 of 100 pitches for strikes — and closer Jeurys Familia loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth. But he broke Jeff Francoeur's bat on a run-scoring double play, then won an eight-pitch standoff with Andres Blanco.

Blanco nearly hit a tying homer, but threw his head back in disappointment when his drive curled just foul in the right-field corner. Familia fanned Blanco with a 99 mph fastball for his 36th save in 41 attempts, ending a crisp game that took only 2 hours, 23 minutes.

Eickhoff has dropped his last two outings to Colon, who has won all four of his starts vs. the Phillies this year and is 7-1 with a 2.78 ERA against them in two seasons with the Mets.

After throwing seven shutout innings last Wednesday in Philadelphia during New York's four-game sweep, the 42-year-old Colon was one better this time. He struck out nine, walked one and yielded four harmless singles on an 89-degree night, pushing his scoreless streak to a season-high 16 innings.

"I've never seen so many guys take bad swings on fastballs because of the above-average movement that he has," Mackanin said. "You've got to tip your cap to him — he's got our number. We haven't hit him very well. He just makes pitches."

The beefy right-hander tossed an inning Saturday against Boston on his regular throw day to spare a tired bullpen, his first relief appearance since April 2011 with the Yankees.

"When he's on like tonight, his ball is moving everywhere," Francoeur said. "He knows how to pitch."

New York increased its division lead to 6 1-2 games over Washington, which lost 8-5 in St. Louis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: Oft-injured RHP Chad Billingsley (flexor strain) has been shut down for the season, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. Billingsley went 2-3 with a 5.84 ERA in seven starts. He has been on the DL since July 19. ... The team plans to call up three players from the minors when rosters expand Tuesday. Some of the September call-ups will likely be pitchers brought in to eat innings and help preserve Philadelphia's top young arms at the major league level, Proefrock said.

Mets: Rookie LHP Steven Matz (partially torn lat muscle) also silenced Phillies hitters, allowing one hit over 5 1-3 shutout innings against their Reading affiliate for Double-A Binghamton. Matz threw 78 pitches in his fourth rehab start. The next step for him is a return to the big league rotation.

ONE-SIDED

The Mets also won a franchise-best 10 straight against Philadelphia from 1971-72. With five meetings remaining, they have matched the team mark for most wins vs. the Phillies in one season.

UP NEXT

Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (8-9, 3.95 ERA) starts the middle game of the series against RHP Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.79 ERA), who is 0-3 in five outings since beating Atlanta on July 30. New York has won Niese's last eight starts vs. the Phillies.

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