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Mets top the Phillies, go four games over .500
PHILADELPHIA -- The open letter was addressed to "True New Yorkers" and signed by members of the 1969 and 1986 championship teams. The Mets sent it out Tuesday in hopes of encouraging fans to sign a petition in support of the team.
On social media, it was greeted with derision, viewed by some as a ploy that should be beneath a big-league team. Of course, if the Mets keep rolling, they may no longer find a need for gimmickry.
In dismantling the Phillies, 6-1, Tuesday night, the Mets made a play for fan support. And they did it the old-fashioned way, by fighting through some adversity. In this case, it was the elements.
Daniel Murphy finished 3-for-5 and knocked in a run, Ruben Tejada went 2-for-3 with a two-run single, and the Mets knocked around Phillies lefty Cole Hamels for six runs in 42/3 innings.
As Hamels faltered in the conditions, Mets lefthander Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.20 ERA) conquered the chill, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings despite pitching through intermittent rain and temperatures that dipped into the low 40s.
"It seems like the more I pitch in cold weather, the more I figure out how to stay warm," Niese said.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 15-11, moving four games over .500 for the first time since July 14, 2012. They have won seven of their last nine games and put themselves in position to win more than 15 games in April for the first time since 2007.
The Mets will go for their 16th win of the month Wednesday night -- assuming that they play despite heavy rain and thunderstorms in the forecast.
"We've played well," Murphy said. "This would be a good way to start the road trip."
Murphy gave the Mets a 1-0 advantage in the third, when he delivered a two-out, RBI single. Tejada scored after he started the inning with a double down the leftfield line, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Niese.
The Mets kept building on that lead against Hamels, who lost all feel for his command. After allowing one run in his first three innings, the Phillies lefthander allowed five in his last two.
The Mets seized a 3-0 lead in the fourth, when Hamels issued four walks. Josh Satin drilled a single to center that scored Chris Young, who reached on a walk. Five batters later, Niese worked a walk on a pitch that nearly hit him on the hands, forcing in another run with two down and the bases loaded.
In the fifth, the Mets tagged Hamels for thee more runs, on an RBI double by Young and the two-run single by Tejada. It proved to be the final act of a brutal night for Hamels, who fell to 1-4 with a 6.98 ERA in his last five decisions against the Mets.
"Let's just hope we're starting to put it together offensively," manager Terry Collins said.
The Mets still have plenty of ground to cover until they can make a serious bid to reach the much-derided 90-win goal set by general manager Sandy Alderson. Nevertheless, they are off to a strong start, which might make a much larger impression on the fans than any open letter.