Depth can cure a host of problems that might suddenly confront a baseball team, such as an injury to a starter or a so-so outing by an ace.
Consider the Mets, 9-4 winners Wednesday night over the Phillies, despite Daniel Murphy's early departure and Matt Harvey's most difficult start since June, partly because he dealt with fatigue and dehydration.
Ruben Tejada, the Mets' shortstop and No. 8 hitter, collected four RBIs. His night was highlighted by the first inside-the-park home run by a Met in more than five years.
Kelly Johnson, the Mets' No. 7 hitter, had two hits, scored twice, and knocked in a run with a double.
With the bottom of their lineup clicking, the Mets cruised along to their ninth consecutive series victory against the lowly Phillies, the longest such streak in franchise history.
Michael Conforto, the prospect the Mets had hesitated to promote, bashed his second homer in three days. His opposite-field two-run homer was his fifth since his promotion in late July. Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets' dynamic slugger, added to his career-best with his 28th homer.
Once again, the Mets capitalized on what has been an exceedingly soft recent schedule, all as the Nationals continue to fade from the picture. At the start of the night, the Mets led the NL East by 61/2 games.
Through three innings, the Mets led 6-0, then watched as the Phillies chipped away. They narrowed it to 6-4 in the seventh against Harvey, who faded after a strong beginning on a humid, hazy night. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 61/3 innings. Though he struck out nine, Harvey allowed at least four earned runs for the first time since June 10.
He did not speak with reporters after the game. A club spokesman said the Mets ace felt weak and dehydrated and dealt with those issues during his start.
Murphy left in the fourth as a precaution for what the team called "mild discomfort'' in his left quad muscle. An injury to that same area had sidelined Murphy for much of June. Manager Terry Collins said Murphy has been playing through quad issues. Though his latest flare-up isn't considered serious, he will be examined today.
But even if Murphy misses time, the Mets' depth has left them better prepared to deal with his absence. "We're lucky because of the pieces that we have,'' Collins said.
"I felt like it was probably wise to get out of there,'' Murphy said.
The Mets banged out 16 hits, at least one for every member of the starting lineup. Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud picked up three hits each.
Still, the biggest moment of the night might have belonged to Tejada, who in the second inning recorded the first inside-the-park homer of his career. It came with an assist from Phillies rightfielder Domonic Brown.
Tejada rifled a liner down the rightfield line that Brown hoped to cut off. But as he charged toward the line, Brown whiffed on his backhand attempt. Momentum carried him to the side wall -- and then over it.
"I'm thinking hit first,'' Tejada said. "Then when I saw him in the stands, I ran as hard as I could.''
With Brown over the wall -- he later left with a possible concussion -- Cesar Hernandez raced all the way from second base to retrieve the ball. Tejada raced around the bases to score, capping a three-run second for the Mets, who had not hit an inside-the-park homer since Angel Pagan did it May 19, 2010.
Notes & quotes:Lucas Duda (back) has begun taking swings at the team's Florida complex, Collins said, although a return date remains unclear.