NEW YORK — For a young pitcher such as Zack Wheeler, the most promising performances can come on days he doesn't have his best stuff.
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer to back up Wheeler's sixth straight strong start, and the Mets routed the Phillies 11-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
"You saw a guy battle without his best command," manager Terry Collins said proudly of the 24-year-old right-hander.
Wheeler (6-8) gave up two runs and seven hits with four strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings — the sixth consecutive outing in which he allowed two runs or fewer.
The Mets sent 10 men to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring five insurance runs off the Philadelphia bullpen to take two of three in the series.
After the Phillies went up 1-0 in the top of the fifth, New York quickly responded — with Wheeler helping himself at the plate.
Juan Lagares opened the bottom of the inning with an infield hit when backup shortstop Andres Blanco double-clutched after ranging far to his left to field the grounder up the middle.
Ruben Tejada singled to bring up Wheeler, who fouled off his first two bunt attempts. But with two strikes, he got the ball in play — and it was a good one, easily advancing the runners to second and third. Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases, then Kyle Kendrick's wild pitch with Murphy at the plate tied the game. Three pitches later, Murphy put the Mets ahead 4-1 with his first homer since July 1.
"It happened quick," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "(Kendrick) just wasn't able to keep it at one or two runs there."
Jimmy Rollins, out of the lineup for the noon start after a night game, pinch-hit for Kendrick (5-11) to open the seventh and homered for the second straight day to pull the Phillies within 4-2. They had runners on first and third with two outs, but Jeurys Familia came on to retire Marlon Byrd.
Familia went on to get his first career RBI with a single in the bottom of the inning, when the Mets broke the game open with the help of an error by reliever Justin De Fratus that led to two unearned runs.
With one out, the Phillies intentionally walked David Wright to bring up Lucas Duda, who was batting .153 against lefties. But he singled off Mario Hollands to put New York up 5-2. Duda added his fifth homer in eight games in the eighth. He was robbed of another in the fourth by center fielder Ben Revere's leaping catch at the wall.
"I have confidence in myself that I can hit lefties," Duda said. "Right now I'm going through a bit of a rough spell."
Ryan Howard broke out of an 0-for-12 slump with a two-out RBI double in the fifth that briefly put the Phillies up 1-0.
New York has won six of nine games and five of its past seven series. The 11 runs were the most the Mets had scored at home since last Aug. 29, also against the Phillies.
Familia has pitched 9 1-3 straight scoreless innings.
Lagares came into the series mired in an 0-for-17 slump, then went 6 for 12 against the Phillies. Tejada was 3 for 4 on Wednesday after coming in 4 for 38 over his past 14 games.
Mets: LHP Dana Eveland was back on the mound two days after he left the game when he was struck on the pitching elbow by a line drive. The reliever struggled with his control after replacing Wheeler with two outs in the seventh. He walked Chase Utley, who stole second then advanced to third on a passed ball. Eveland hit Howard and was taken out for Familia, who got the Mets out of the jam.
Phillies: LHP Cliff Lee (4-5) faces Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6) as Philadelphia opens a four-game series in Washington on Thursday.
Mets: The Mets have Thursday off, then send LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6) to the mound when they open a four-game home series against the Giants on Friday.