The Phillies picked up where they left off last Sept. 20, jumping all over Jeremy Hefner in a five-run first and cruising to a 7-3 win over the Mets in the rubber match of their three-game set.
A series win, an actual series win. The Phils took the final two games of the series to improve to 4-5 and avoid falling further back in the NL East. May sound silly to talk standings this early in the year, but it's pretty clear that the Braves and Nationals are really, really good and are going to continue putting pressure on the rest of the NL contenders.
The scoring started on Chase Utley's two-run bomb to center and continued four batters later when Domonic Brown demolished a three-run jack of his own to the second deck in right field.
Laynce Nix homered later off the bench, giving the Phils three dingers for the second straight game. The last time they did that was June 18-19, 2010.
Hefner doesn't want to see this team anytime soon. Before John Mayberry's strikeout seven batters in, Hefner had allowed 13 consecutive Phillies to reach base -- and 12 to score -- going back to the start last September.
Scattered thoughts on the win:
- Leading 5-2 in the fifth with Mets on second and third and one out, Ben Revere made a tremendous running catch in shallow left-center and quickly fired to second to double off Daniel Murphy. It was very impressive closing speed. With some centerfielders, it would have been a two-run single that narrowed the score to 5-4 and gave the Mets momentum. It was a bone-headed play by Murphy, but at the same time it showed the value of centerfield defense.
- Revere did strike out again, however. It was his seventh of the year. His seventh strikeout last year came on June 12.
- Ryan Howard singled in his first two at-bats. Baby steps in the right direction.
- Michael Young continues to rake. He went 2-for-3 with a double, and in his last four games is 9-for-16 with two doubles, a triple, a homer, three RBI and four runs scored. No, we're not overreacting to four games, but it's worth noting that Young only had five extra-base hits total last April.
- Revere was caught stealing in the first, ending the Phillies' streak of 10 straight successful stolen bases to start the season.
- Kyle Kendrick was hittable but avoided the big blow with runners in scoring position. He allowed two solo homers, but the other eight men who reached base didn't score. It was the 28th time in his last 42 starts Kendrick allowed two earned runs or fewer.
Three games in Miami against a Marlins team that has been shut out four times in their first nine games. The Marlins have been swept by the Nationals and Braves and lost two of three to the Mets.
Now it's the Phillies' turn to use Miami to better itself in the standings.