Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Phillies 1

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets and Phillies are headed in opposite directions.

New York's National League club won for the fifth time in six games Tuesday night, an 11-1 romp at Citi Field, improving to 44-37 on the season -- in second place, 3.5 games behind the Washington Nationals.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has now lost six games in a row -- tying a season high -- and sits in last place at 36-46. This marks the first time the Phillies have been 10 games under .500 since July 22, 2002.

FOR STARTERS: Strong starting pitching has been the biggest reason for the Mets' success this season, and that only continued on Tuesday. Jonathon Niese, who had an outstanding June -- 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts -- started off his July with another excellent performance.

Niese went eight innings, giving up just one run on three hits. The only blemish on his outing was a Carlos Ruiz solo homer to lead off the second inning. The Phillies' other two hits off him were harmless singles by Ty Wigginton in the second and Hunter Pence in the seventh.

ON OFFENSE: The Mets wasted no time getting on the board against Philadelphia starter Vance Worley, who entered the game with a 2.92 ERA. Daniel Murphy hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the first, and was driven home on a David Wright grounder to third.

New York added three more runs in the second -- two of them coming home on a single up the middle by Niese. A third scored on a double by Murphy. The Mets could have done even more damage in the inning, but both Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada were thrown out trying to stretch on the bases.

In the fourth inning, the Mets tacked on two more -- one apiece on singles by Tejada and Murphy. And then Wright crushed a pitch from Phillies reliever Brian Sanches over the center-field wall in the sixth, a three-run shot to make the score 9-1.

In the eighth, Murphy finished off the scoring with his fourth hit of the night, driving home two more runs -- he was just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Tejada and Those also had three hits. Wright and Murphy finished with four RBIs apiece.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Murphy and Tejada didn't just star at the plate, either. Both robbed Pence with leaping grabs of line drives in the second and fourth innings, respectively.

Tejada and Wright also made sparkling plays on ground balls -- this after the Mets made three errors in the field during their previous game, on Sunday in Los Angeles. In fact, the Mets entered the game with 63 errors -- the most in the National League.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Mets and Phillies will play a Fourth of July matinee at Citi Field -- first pitch at 1:10 p.m. Chris Young (2-1, 3.30) will go for the Mets, opposed by the still-winless Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13).