The Mets welcomed the Phillies to Citi Field at the midway point of the season, with New York still sitting in second place, while Philadelphia is still in the NL East basement, uncharted territory for the five-time defending division champs. Terry Collins’ ball club is looking to end the first half strong before the All-Star break and trying to bury their division rivals, and Jonathon Niese helped start that process Tuesday night.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
The Amazins started their 11-run, 15-hit attack right in the first inning, as Daniel Murphy tripled to left field with one out, and scored on a ground out by David Wright. New York got to Vance Worley once again in the second inning, with Lucas Duda starting it off with a walk, followed by an Andres Torres one-out single. Josh Thole also singled to load the bases, and Niese made it hurt with a two-run single of his own, pushing the lead to 3-1 at the time. Following a Ruben Tejadasingle, Murphy doubled to left center, scoring Niese, but Tejada was thrown out at home to end the inning. Thole started another rally in the fourth with a single, scoring on a base hit by Ruben, followed by another Murphy hit, this time a single. The knockout punch came in the sixth inning, as David Wright
his his 10th homer of the year, a three-run shot to center field, increasing the lead to 9-1. For good measure, Murphy secured his second four-hit game of 2012 with a two-run double.
Phillies Offensive Highlights:
Carlos Ruiz helped Philadelphia get even in the top of the second with a solo home run, but the Phils couldn’t figure out Niese, as he retired 17 of the next 20 hitters he faced in his eight innings of work. They only managed three hits on the night, with Hunter Pence and Ty Wigginton earning the others. There would have been more, but after committing three errors Sunday night, the Mets made at least a half dozen web gems to steal base hits from the Phillies.
Charlie Manuel was hoping that Vance Worley would be able to halt the Phillies’ current five-game losing streak, but he wasn’t able to condense the nonsense. In 4 innings, the Philly right-hander gave up 6 runs on 10 hits and 1 walk, while striking out only 3. In relief of Worley, Raul Valdez got touched up for a couple runs, but only because Brian Sanches couldn’t keep Wright in the ballpark. Jake Diekman also allowed two runs in his one inning of work.
Not enough can be said about Jonathon Niese’s performance Tuesday night, as he stymied Philadelphia bats for 8 innings, only giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, also striking out 3. He did give up a home run to Ruiz, but it was of the solo variety, and he earned his seventh win of the year, lowering his ERA to 3.35 on the season. Jon Rauch came in to pitch a scoreless ninth, giving the Mets their 44th victory in their 81st game… putting them on pace for 88 victories in 2012.
Both Murphy and Wright collected four RBI in the rout, and Murph just keeps hitting with four more base knocks, now hitting .481 with 14 RBI in his last 7 contests. Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole both collected three hits each, and Niese got in on the action, driving in two runs to help himself. The reported attendance of 42,516 fans at Citi Field once again sets a record.
The victory brings New York’s season record to 44-37 at the midway point of the season. At the moment, the Nationals are in a delay in DC against the Giants, but are winning late, so unless they blow their current six-run lead, the Mets will continue to stay 3.5 games behind the Nats.
Probable Pitchers Wednesday:
The Mets and Phils will meet for an afternoon matinee on the fourth of July, as Chris Young (2-1, 3.30 ERA) will take on the still win-less Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13 ERA) at Citi Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10pm.