NEW YORK (AP) - Jeremy Hefner had been sailing along. A tweak to his delivery produced increased velocity - and the best ERA in the majors over the last 6 1/2 weeks.
Then he ran into his NL East nemesis.
Chase Utley, Domonic Brown and the Philadelphia Phillies came flying out of the All-Star break, scoring 11 runs in the first three innings Friday night on the way to a 13-8 rout of Hefner and the New York Mets.
``I don't know what it is about the Phillies. I know how to get them out, I just need to execute,' Hefner said.
Hefner (4-7) came in with a 1.76 ERA in his past eight starts, the top mark in the majors since June 4. But he's rarely been able to solve the Phillies, though he did beat them 4-3 on June 21.
This time, he managed only six outs while giving up a career-high eight runs and 10 hits, which matched a career worst. The right-hander dropped to 2-3 with a 13.75 ERA in six career outings against Philadelphia - the highest mark for any pitcher with at least 18 innings against the Phillies.
``Heat may have taken a toll on his velocity. It also might have been the seven days off. This outing surprised everyone,' Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer, and David Wright had a two-run shot in the ninth for New York.
Philadelphia cruised to its seventh consecutive victory at Citi Field, outscoring the Mets 53-17 in those games, and leapfrogged Washington into second place in the NL East.
Michael Young hit a three-run homer, Utley had a two-run drive and Brown a solo shot as the Phillies (49-48) won their ninth in 12 games to move over .500 for only the second time this season.
``Going into the break we realized that we needed to win some games, so I don't think we all just sat on the couch for four days,' Utley said.
While the Phillies have made themselves right at home in Queens, the Mets keep struggling in their own ballpark. Back on the field after hosting the All-Star game Tuesday for the first time since 1964, they fell to an NL-worst 17-28 at home.
Utley tripled and drove in three runs on a 95-degree night that made Citi Field feel like a sauna. Delmon Young had three hits and Brown, fresh off his All-Star debut, tagged Hefner once again while adding three hits and two RBIs.
``The heat wasn't an issue,' Hefner said. ``I wasn't out there long enough.'
Brown is 6 for 6 with two homers, a double, two walks and seven RBIs against Hefner in his career.
``There are simply guys that don't match up well with certain teams,' Collins said.
John Mayberry Jr. also knocked in two runs, and every Philadelphia position player had at least one hit and scored by the third inning.
The beneficiary of all that early offense was Kyle Kendrick (9-6), who came to bat before throwing a pitch. Handed an 11-0 cushion, he gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.
``We left him out there too long. KK might have gotten a little dry inside,' Brown said.
Kendrick, who threw a three-hit shutout April 26 at Citi Field, improved to 4-1 in five starts at the ballpark and 13-3 in his last 19 against NL East teams.
Jimmy Rollins singled to start the game and scored on Utley's one-out triple off the 408 sign on the center-field fence. Brown hit an RBI single, Delmon Young drove in a run with an infield single and Mayberry added an RBI single before Hefner finally ended a 38-pitch inning that lasted 20 minutes.
It only got worse in the third, when Philadelphia scored seven runs and batted around for the second time.
Brown sent an 0-2 breaking ball into the second deck in right for his 24th home run. Darin Ruf doubled and scored when Byrd overran Delmon Young's single in right field for an error. Mayberry smacked a run-scoring double that chased Hefner before Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double off Greg Burke.
``Location and execution was the biggest problem tonight. There were some not-so-hard-hit balls tonight that got through,' Hefner said. ``That's not the defense's fault, but over the last two months, those balls are caught. But I put the team in a horrible situation.'
Michael Young capped the outburst with a three-run shot to left. Utley added a two-run drive off Josh Edgin in the fifth to make it 13-3.
NOTES: New York rookie Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54 ERA) pitches Saturday against LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), who is 6-11 with a 4.28 ERA in 23 starts against the Mets. ... Reserve infielder Justin Turner (ribcage) is likely to come off the disabled list for a four-game series against Atlanta that begins Monday night, Collins said. ... C John Buck cramped up on a late swing but stayed in the game. Collins said Anthony Recker will catch Saturday, with Buck returning to the lineup Sunday. ... New York worked out Thursday, but Collins said he gave Wright the day off following all his responsibilities leading up to the All-Star game. ... Attendance was 35,021. There was a postgame concert by hip-hop artist and Mets fan Nas.
The Associated Press News Service
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