Phillies crush Mets for first series win

Phillies crush Mets for first series win

April 11, 2013, 12:00 am
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They’re still not pitching quite the way they’re supposed to pitch. The last few days they have started to hit the way they’re supposed to hit.

The Phillies hit three home runs for the second straight day – the first time they’ve done that in three years – and pounded the Mets again, winning 7-3 at Citizens Bank Park and winning their first series of the young season (see Instant Replay).

Chase Utley and Domonic Brown hit first-inning home runs, Laynce Nix added a pinch-hit dinger in the sixth, and the Phillies have scored 25 runs in their last four games after scoring 17 in their first six.
“There’s something to be said for everything being contagious a little bit,” said third baseman Michael Young, who had two hits, reached base three times and raised his average to .375.

“Starting pitchers feed off each other, bullpen guys feed off each other, and the lineup’s the same way. If we can get [Ryan Howard] going, we know what he’s capable of doing. He can carry a team for long stretches at a time, so that’s something we’re definitely looking forward to.”

Even the struggling Howard banged out a couple hits Wednesday, as did Jimmy Rollins, whose fifth double of the season ties him for the major-league lead.

Utley gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer to dead center after Rollins had walked, and Brown slammed his bomb into the second deck in right after Howard had singled and Young walked.

The Phillies have scored 12 first-inning runs the last two times they’ve faced Mets righty Jeremy Hefner.

“You're going to have stints where you don’t get guys in and stints where you do knock guys in,” Howard said. “That’s why you go out there and keep swinging and keep playing the game.

“Right now, we’re knocking guys in, and hopefully we keep that going for a long, long time.”

This is the first time the Phillies have hit three or more homers in consecutive games since 2010, when they did it twice in a row against the Twins.

“We’re just not missing our pitches,” Brown said. “Going out there and preparing the right way, having fun and doing the little things when guys get on base.

“We’re having a good time. Even in spring training, we could see guys were healthy, and that was really the big key for us. Keeping everybody healthy, preparing the right way and just having fun.”

Brown’s second homer of the season was the type of blast that in past years would have gotten him jacked up as soon as it left the yard.

Not anymore, he said.

"Back in the day I would've,” he said. “Then I'd go up and strike out two or three times."

Veteran righty Kyle Kendrick was hardly sharp – he allowed eight hits and walked two in six rocky innings – but he worked through it, made big pitches with guys in scoring position and became the first Phillies starter other than Cliff Lee to get a win this year.

“We’re scoring a lot of runs,” Kendrick said. “Nice to see. Guys are hitting the ball well. It’s nice for the starers. We’ve just got to go out there and keep us in the game and we feel like we can get a win.”

Kendrick got out of a couple tough jams – bases loaded with one out in the second, second and third with one out in the fifth.

He also came back and pitched two innings after a 27-minute rain delay after the top of the fourth.

“One of those nights you had to battle,” Kendrick said. “I wanted to pitch as deep as I could. Gave up a couple runs but was able to keep us in the game.

“It’s always nice to get out of jams. You just try to minimize the damage. One here, one there but stay away big innings, and was able to do that, and that was big.”

Kendrick improved his career record to 55-43, and his .561 winning percentage is fifth-best in franchise history among pitchers starting at least 120 games.

“I’ve been able to watch Kyle grow as a player and mature as a pitcher and he handles himself so much better out there now,” Howard said. “He’s picked up his tempo, he’s got rhythm, he’s got flow, and he’s got great command on his pitches.

“He keeps it calm when he gets in tough situations and gets us out of there with minimal damage.”

After losing two out of three to both the Braves and Royals and the opener of the Mets series to open the season, the Phillies have won consecutive games for the first time.

They’re now on the road for six – three in Miami, three in Cincinnati – before returning home.

“It’s great to get that first series under our belt and just try to carry the momentum on to Miami,” Howard said. “We’ve had a couple situations where we’ve come up short, but these last four or five games, we’ve just been going out there swinging, and if we keep swinging the bats and putting the ball in play, good things happen.”

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