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Mets crank up offense against Phillies

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets' lineup on Thursday afternoon bore little resemblance to the one they fielded on Opening Day. The way they won would have been unrecognizable in April, as well.

Daniel Murphy -- the only Mets starter to play the same position as he did on Opening Day -- went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Carlos Torres allowed one run in 6 2/3 solid innings as the Mets cruised past the Philadelphia Phillies 11-3.

The 11-run outburst marked the fifth time this season that the Mets have scored at least 10 runs in a game. They also scored 11 runs in beating the San Diego Padres in an 11-2 rout on April 1. But nine of the RBIs and nine of the runs scored in the season opener were produced by players either no longer with the Mets -- including Marlon Byrd and John Buck, who were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday -- or, in the case of captain David Wright, on the disabled list.

The Mets generated offense largely by relying on patience at the plate and savvy on the bases. They drew six walks and, for the second straight game, stole three bases.

"Every win is not going to be pretty; you never know how you're going to win," said leadoff batter Eric Young Jr., who went 3-for-5, scored two runs and had a three-run triple. "But those championship-caliber teams, especially the ones that are in the race right now, they (do) something different every night. You never know how they're going to win; you just know that something's going to happen that's gong to put them in a position to win."

Murphy's second hit, a double, scored Young from first base with the Mets' first run. Leadoff walks in the fourth and sixth led to two-run innings. The Mets scored their first run in the sixth without hitting the ball out of the infield.

Young's three-run triple in the seventh was preceded by a single, two walks (including one with the bases loaded), a hit batsman and a fielder's choice grounder.

"One hundred and sixty games, your ballclub's not going to look the same at the end as it does at the beginning," Murphy said. "You kind of adjust to the personnel you have. But I think one thing that hasn't changed is base running. That's been an emphasis since spring training."

In spring training, though, the Mets didn't have a spark plug like Young, whom they acquired from the Colorado Rockies on June 18. The Mets had just 29 steals in 43 attempts before Young's debut on June 19 but are 58-for-73 on the bases since then.

Young has 23 steals in 27 attempts for the Mets and Murphy is 15-for-15, including a steal of second in the first inning on Thursday. Murphy entered the season with just 19 steals in 469 big league games and was 3-of-6 this season before Young joined the team.

"Base running's contagious," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I think Eric getting here and that energy he puts on the bases certainly has changed our attitude."

Collins and Murphy both said much of the credit for the Mets' success on the bases belongs to first base/base-running coach Tom Goodwin, who stole 369 bases as a major leaguer. Murphy also said he gets tips before the game from Young, who watches video of that night's starter.

"I let them do all the hard work and then I just cheat on the test," Murphy said with a grin. "I let them do all the work, then I copy their notes."

The four-hit game was the fourth of the season for Murphy and the 10th of his career. He grounded out in the seventh in pursuit of his first five-hit game.

Anthony Recker, who spent most of this season as the Mets' backup catcher, celebrated his 30th birthday by making a rare start and going 1-for-2 with a two-run homer and three runs scored. Andrew Brown, who began the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, was 2-for-5 with a solo homer and two RBI.

Torres, who also opened the year at Las Vegas, made his first start since July 28 and allowed four hits and no walks while striking out six. Torres moved into the rotation when ace Matt Harvey was lost for the year on Monday because of an elbow injury.

Roger Bernadina hit a two-run homer into the upper deck in right field for the Phillies and Chase Utley and Domonic Brown each had two hits.

Phillies starter Ethan Martin allowed three runs, four hits and three walks while striking out a career-high nine in four innings.

"It was tough all around," Domonic Brown said. "It was a very long day."

NOTES: Wright was scheduled to fly to the Mets' spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Thursday afternoon to continue his rehab from the right hamstring strain he suffered Aug. 2. Wright is still not running at full speed and said doctors told him it was a six-week injury, which means he likely won't be back with the Mets until mid-September. ... The Kingsport Mets, the club's rookie-level affiliate in the Appalachian League, clinched their first playoff berth since 1996 by beating Bluefield on Wednesday. ... Domonic Brown returned to the Phillies' lineup after missing four straight starts with a sore right Achilles'. ... Rookie 3B Cody Asche didn't play for the Phillies, one day after he suffered a strain/cramp in his right hamstring while running to first base on a single.
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