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Mets send Phillies to 6th straight loss

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The contrast was as clear in the clubhouses as it had been on the scoreboard.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke softly, sometimes struggling to link his words in an order that made any more sense than the fact his team had lost its sixth straight game and remained in last place in the NL East.

The New York Mets had just thumped the rival Phillies 11-1 Tuesday night in front of a Citi Field-record crowd of 42,516, pounding out 15 hits.

"We definitely had life," Manuel said of the start of the game. "I guess the Mets just took the life out of us."

Inside the Mets' clubhouse, first baseman Ike Davis sang the title line from Katy Perry's "Firework" song to himself. The upbeat song was an ode to the recently completed postgame fireworks display as well as the festive mood of the surprising Mets, who have flipped outside expectations upside down halfway through the season.

"The biggest thing is, we get more and more confident with each win," said David Wright, who hit a three-run homer in the sixth to give the Mets a 9-1 lead. "But we knew we had a good team in spring training."

The Mets showed it in several ways Tuesday, with Daniel Murphy tying a career-high with four hits, including a double, triple and four RBIs, while also making a leaping catch at second base.

Ruben Tejada, hot since he returned from the disabled list, had three hits after getting placed in the leadoff spot -- and made an even more impressive leaping catch at shortstop.

Jon Niese (7-3) not only pitched eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball, but added a two-run single, tying his career-high RBI total.

"I think we care so much about each other, sincerely pull for the next guy," Murphy said. "... It's unique and it's a lot of fun."

The Phillies have known all about that type of fun, having won five straight NL East titles, reaching the World Series twice and winning it once.

But those rollicking good times have been replaced by a 12-game deficit to the first-place Washington Nationals, and 8 1/2-game gap behind the second-place Mets. Reports of potential trades of veterans have accompanied the large deficit, and doubt has started to replace confidence.

Despite Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. telling reporters Monday he still aimed to keep starter Cole Hamels on the roster, Manuel acknowledged before the game the heat was on before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.

"Yeah, pretty much, so we've gotta start winning the next three weeks," Manuel said, when asked if the pressure to win was increased.

Instead, the Mets came out and smacked Vance Worley (4-5) around, chasing him after just four innings. He allowed a season-high six runs and 10 hits.

"He usually goes six or seven ...." Manuel said, sounding confused over the early exit. "... That was a blowout. We haven't been getting blown out, but we did tonight."

Murphy was in the middle of each rally against Worley as the Mets built a 6-1 lead. He tripled down the left-field line in the first inning and scored on Wright's RBI groundout for a 1-0 lead.

After Carlos Ruiz's leadoff homer to left tied it 1-1 in the top of the second, the Mets added three in the bottom of the inning.

They could have scored more, but Josh Thole got thrown out at third for the second out on Niese's two-run single, and Tejada was out at the plate to end the inning after Murphy doubled in Niese for a 4-1 lead.

The Mets tacked on two more in the fourth against Worley thanks to two-out RBI singles by Tejada and Murphy, for a 6-1 lead.

Wright's three-run homer to center field in the sixth off Brian Sanches gave the Mets a 9-1 lead, and they added two more in the eighth.

The homer was Wright's 193rd of his career, which put him in sole possession of third place on the club's all-time list. After getting overtaken in the All-Star Game fan vote by San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Wright was serenaded with "M-V-P!" chants from Mets fans.

"It's nice, it's nice," said Wright -- who later again said he was "disappointed" about the All-Star balloting results. "It's a long way to go. ... [The fans] have seen the good, bad and the ugly, but they've always stuck with me and shown me a lot of support."

The shot was also another two-out blow for the Mets on a night when they scored six runs with two outs.

It was yet another confidence boost for a team earning several of them lately.

NOTES: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (left Achilles tendon surgery) started at first base and homered during his third straight rehab game for Class AAA Lehigh Valley (Pa.) on Tuesday. Manuel said after the game the Phillies might not be able to rush Howard back because it was a "serious injury." He added Howard wouldn't have made a difference in a blowout like the 11-1 defeat Tuesday. ... Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay (right lat strain) threw a 56-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday's game and could return following the All-Star break, pitching coach Rich Dubee told reporters. ... Mets center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was scratched from the lineup with a bruised right hand, an injury he sustained during batting practice, the team announced a few minutes before first pitch. Andres Torres started in his place. ... Mets left fielder Jason Bay (concussion) did some running, throwing and soft toss hitting Tuesday and said if things continued to go well he could return following the All-Star break... This was the second straight home game in which the Mets set an attendance record at Citi Field, passing the June 24 mark of 42,364 against the Yankees.
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