- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Zack Wheeler looked like a king, proudly wearing the Mets’ star-of-the-game crown after waiting 2 1/2 years to get another win.

The right-hander took a shutout into the sixth inning, Michael Conforto hit a solo homer and New York held off the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” said Wheeler, who missed the last two seasons following Tommy John surgery and had not won since Sept. 19, 2014, against Atlanta.

Wheeler (1-1) was charged with three runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings.

“It’s nice to achieve small, personal goals,” he said. “I had a rough first outing so it’s nice to get back and do better.”

Wheeler gave up five runs in four innings against Miami last week.

“I was very happy and impressed the way he pitched tonight,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He deserved (a win). It was a long road.”

Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera each drove in two runs for New York.

Wheeler was pulled with a 5-0 lead after he walked Odubel Herrera to load the bases with two outs in the sixth. Maikel Franco hit the first pitch from Hansel Robles into the seats beyond the 409-foot sign in left-center for a grand slam that cut it to 5-4.

Robles and Jerry Blevins combined to get four outs. Fernando Salas worked the eighth and Addison Reed finished for his third save.

Phillies starter Vince Velasquez (0-2) allowed five runs and five hits in five innings. He had seven strikeouts and has 17 in two starts but his ERA is 9.00. Velasquez was 8-2 at the All-Star break last year and finished 8-6. He hasn’t won since July 8.

“I have about eight walks in the last two games,” Velasquez said. “Seventeen strikeouts doesn’t even hit my mind. I’m not even worried about strikeouts. I just want to be labeled as a pitcher. I’m trying to pitch to contact. I need to go back to stage 1.”

Conforto led off the game with a single and scored when Cespedes lined a double down the left-field line.

Conforto’s homer in the third made it 2-0. He fell behind 0-2 in the count before driving a 1-2 fastball the opposite way to left-center.

Conforto started instead of Curtis Granderson. Collins expects to give the youngster another start in Miami this weekend.

“Any time it’s difficult for him (to make a lineup), it’s a good thing,” Conforto said. “It means we’re playing well and have a lot of depth.”

Cabrera hit a two-run single in the fifth and Cespedes followed with a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.

ONE-SIDED RIVALRY

The Mets are 29-12 against the Phillies since 2015. This was New York’s first sweep of three or more games in Philadelphia since Aug. 24-27, 2015.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: CF Juan Lagares went 1 for 4 with Class A St. Lucie in his third rehab game. Lagares began the season on the disabled list because of a left oblique injury.

Phillies: An MRI on RHP Clay Buchholz revealed a partial tear of the right flexor pronator mass. He will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman (0-1, 4.50 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series at Miami on Thursday night. He lost to the Marlins in his only start against them last week.

Phillies: After a day off, RHP Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50) starts against the Nationals on Friday night. He was on the mound last Saturday when the Phillies scored 12 runs in the first inning against Washington.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi

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More AP Baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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