NEW YORK (AP) — For a young pitcher such as Zack Wheeler, the most promising performances can come on days he doesn't have his best stuff.
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer to back up Wheeler's sixth straight strong start, and the Mets routed the Phillies 11-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
"You saw a guy battle without his best command," manager Terry Collins said proudly of the 24-year-old right-hander.
Wheeler (6-8) gave up two runs and seven hits with four strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings — the sixth consecutive outing in which he allowed two runs or fewer.
The Mets sent 10 men to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring five insurance runs off the Philadelphia bullpen to take two of three in the series.
After the Phillies went up 1-0 in the top of the fifth, New York quickly responded — with Wheeler helping himself at the plate.
Juan Lagares opened the bottom of the inning with an infield hit when backup shortstop Andres Blanco double-clutched after ranging far to his left to field the grounder up the middle.
Ruben Tejada singled to bring up Wheeler, who fouled off his first two bunt attempts. But with two strikes, he got the ball in play — and it was a good one, easily advancing the runners to second and third. Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases, then Kyle Kendrick's wild pitch with Murphy at the plate tied the game. Three pitches later, Murphy put the Mets ahead 4-1 with his first homer since July 1.
"It happened quick," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "(Kendrick) just wasn't able to keep it at one or two runs there."
Jimmy Rollins, out of the lineup for the noon start after a night game, pinch-hit for Kendrick (5-11) to open the seventh and homered for the second straight day to pull the Phillies within 4-2. They had runners on first and third with two outs, but Jeurys Familia came on to retire Marlon Byrd.
Familia went on to get his first career RBI with a single in the bottom of the inning, when the Mets broke the game open with the help of an error by reliever Justin De Fratus that led to two unearned runs.