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Megill unveils American Spork, `off-brand version’ of Senga’s Ghost Fork, in 4-3 win over Phils

NEW YORK (AP) — Tylor Megill unveiled his attempt at throwing Kodai Senga’s Ghost Fork.

“We’ve been calling it the American Spork,” Megill said. “Off-brand version.”

Megill used the new pitch for the first time and threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings to help the New York Mets beat the playoff-bound Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Saturday in a doubleheader opener.

Megill, whose previous high was seven innings against the Yankees in September 2021, gave up four hits and struck out seven. He threw a handful of split-fingered fastballs he learned from the Mets’ Rookie of the Year contender, using the pitch to strike out Cristian Pache in the third and retire Brandon Marsh on a grounder in the fifth.

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“I’ve been talking with Kodai since the Baltimore series,” said Megill, thinking back to his Aug. 5 return from Triple-A. “Just watching him go and throw it — they know it’s coming and getting the swings that he has, it’s like, why not try to implement that in? I’ve got the fingers, my hands spread out super far, so it feels natural to me.”

Megill (9-8) said he didn’t want to use the pitch in a game until he was pitching with a healthy lead, which the Mets provided by scoring four times in the first two innings against Taijuan Walker (15-6).

“Give him another pitch on the advance scouting report next year that they have to prepare for,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.

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Megill, who started a five-pitcher no-hitter against the Phillies on April 29 last year, gave up singles to J.T. Realmuto in the fourth and sixth before singles by Weston Wilson and Jake Cave leading off the eighth. Pache flied out and Brooks Raley allowed a two-out RBI single Edmundo Sosa before striking out Bryce Harper with runners at second and third.

Adam Ottavino gave up Marsh’s RBI double and Weston Wilson’s run-scoring single. With Wilson at third base, Ottavino struck out Jake Cave and retried Pache on a flyout for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Pete Alonso and Brett Baty each had RBIs in the first, when Francisco Lindor raced home on a wild pitch.

Omar Narváez homered leading off the second.

Walker, in line to start a Game 3 of an NL Wild Card series on Thursday, went seven innings and finished the season with a career-high 172 2/3 innings and 31 starts. He had a 7.05 first-inning ERA but a 3.81 in the subsequent innings.

“Lot of ups and downs, wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be, but I was proud I was bale to come in and give us some good innings and make every start,” Walker said. “That was a huge goal for me.”

In the second game of a doubleheader caused by Friday’s rainout, José Quintana (3-6, 3.39 ERA) was to start for the Mets. Michael Plassmeyer was to make his season debut for the Phillies.

PASSION PLAY

Daniel Murphy, who hit .529 with four homers during the 2015 NLCS and won MVP honors when the Mets swept the Chicago Cubs, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to his son Noah.

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Murphy retired following the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but came back this year with the independent Long Island Ducks. He then played for the Los Angeles Angels’ Triple-A Salt Lake team and hit .295 with one homer in 38 games before retiring again in August.

“I considered this adventure a bit of an experiment,” Murphy said. “And it was just ‘play’ — like my sons, like they do when they’re unsupervised. Just play. And it was great.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Dylan Covey (back) was placed on the 15-day injured list. Manager Rob Thomson said Covey could return if the team advances to the NL Championship Series. RHP Luis Ortiz was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia also recalled INF/OF Weston Wilson from Lehigh Valley and optioned IF Rodolfo Castro to its spring training complex.

Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo (UC joint in right shoulder) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Nimmo, who was hurt trying to make a diving catch Thursday night, said might have been able to avoid the IL if there was more time left in the season and that 10 to 14 days of rest should heal the injury. New York recalled C Michael Pérez from Triple-A Syracuse.

UP NEXT

The teams conclude the regular season Sunday, when the Mets send RHP José Butto (1-3, 3.75) to the mound against Phillies RHP Nick Nelson, who will make his season debut.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb