NEW YORK (AP) Matt Harvey felt dehydrated and Daniel Murphy had a sore quadriceps. Still, many New York Mets were smiling in the clubhouse as they packed up for their road trip late Wednesday night.
That’s what a comfortable lead in September can do for a tired team.
Ruben Tejada hit an inside-the-park homer and drove in four runs to back Harvey as the Mets returned to their winning ways against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 9-4 victory.
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”Really excited about the way that we’re playing,” third baseman David Wright said.
Yoenis Cespedes and rookie Michael Conforto had conventional home runs for the NL East leaders, who remained 6 1-2 games ahead of second-place Washington. They won for the 14th time in 16 meetings this season with the last-place Phillies, who snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Mets with a 14-8 rout Tuesday.
Travis d’Arnaud doubled twice and singled, and Cespedes also had three hits – one night after he homered to stop an 0-for-16 slide.
Handed a 6-0 lead, Harvey (12-7) pitched into the seventh inning in soupy weather and won his fourth straight decision. He was touched for nine hits, equaling a season high, and four runs but struck out nine and walked only one.
”I thought he threw the ball very well. He had a rough inning,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”He’ll be ready for his next start (at Washington). That’s what counts.”
Harvey was unavailable to reporters because he was in the trainer’s room. He felt weak during the game and dehydrated, a Mets spokesman said, and wasn’t sure yet if he would travel with the team to Miami.
Before the game, Collins acknowledged Harvey will likely be skipped in the rotation once more to limit innings during his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
The right-hander improved to 6-1 in eight career starts versus the Phillies, who have lost 25 of 31 against the Mets and dropped nine consecutive series to them since May 2014.
The only bad news for New York was the injury to Murphy. The team said the first baseman was removed as a precaution in the fourth with ”mild discomfort” in his left quadriceps.
Murphy spent time on the disabled list in June with an injury to the same quad. He will remain in New York to get checked out on the day off Thursday and then is expected to meet the Mets in Miami.
”I’d characterize it as probably just a shade less than 100 percent,” said Murphy, who hit an RBI double. ”Saw our guys swinging the bat really well today, and with Harvey going with a six-run lead, felt like it was probably wise to maybe get out of there, especially with rosters expanded.”
Prized rookie Aaron Nola (5-2) was no match for Harvey in their first meeting. Making his ninth major league start, Nola gave up nine hits and a career-high six runs in four innings – his shortest outing yet.
The 22-year-old righty had won five straight decisions since a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay in his debut.
”My body and my arm felt good the first inning and things kind of just unraveled. I missed a couple spots and they really made me pay for it,” Nola said.
With a runner on second and two outs in the second inning, Tejada hit a shallow pop fly down the right-field line. Domonic Brown charged and reached down but could not make the catch, and the ball bounced by him as he flipped head over heels over a low retaining wall.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez finally chased down the ball in the corner, and Tejada slid home safely without a relay throw to the plate.
”Things just seem to happen when we play the Mets,” Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said.
Darnell Sweeney homered off Harvey, and pinch-hitter Erik Kratz had a two-run double for Philadelphia.
New York has beaten Philadelphia 14 times in one season for the first time. It’s the fourth time the Mets have won 14 games against one opponent in a season.
Phillies: Mackanin said he was originally told Brown landed on his knee when he tumbled over the wall. The outfielder initially remained in the game, but was removed in the bottom of the fourth due to concerns about a possible concussion. He will see a specialist Thursday and is unlikely to play this weekend in Boston. ”I guess he took that test and didn’t score exceptionally well,” Mackanin said.
Mets: Murphy was on the DL from June 5-29 with a strained left quadriceps. He and Michael Cuddyer have been filling in at first base for slugger Lucas Duda (lower back), on the DL since Aug. 22. Collins said he thought Duda was scheduled to take some swings Wednesday.
Phillies: Rookie LHP Adam Morgan (5-4) pitches Friday night at Fenway Park against RHP Joe Kelly (8-6).
Mets: After a day off, RHP Jacob deGrom (12-7, 2.32 ERA) goes Friday night in Miami against RHP Tom Koehler (8-13, 4.12). Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year is 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins.