NEW YORK (AP) _ Yoenis Cespedes clocked a three-run homer, Kelly Johnson had a pinch-hit grand slam and Noah Syndergaard pitched two-hit ball over seven innings as the resurgent New York Mets routed the Philadelphia Phillies 12-1 on Saturday night.
Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the third time in two games, a two-run drive that put New York ahead against Jeremy Hellickson (10-8). Neil Walker added his 23rd of the season to match a career high, giving the Mets four homers for the second consecutive night in a blowout of Philadelphia.
Alejandro De Aza added a two-run double for the Mets, who won for the sixth time in seven games as they attempt to make a charge in the bunched-up NL wild-card chase.
Jose Reyes and Cabrera each had three hits, once again providing a spark from the top two spots in the lineup since both came off the disabled list. Mostly healthy at last after lagging through much of the summer as one of baseball’s weakest offenses, the Mets have totaled 31 runs while winning their past three games.
New York now has 87 home runs at Citi Field this season, surpassing its previous record of 85 set last year. The ballpark opened in 2009.
Syndergaard (12-7) chipped in with a long double and won his third straight start, improving to 4-0 in four career outings against the Phillies. The only damage against him came on Freddy Galvis’ homer in the third.
New York has taken 12 of its past 14 series with Philadelphia.
Hellickson, who had won four consecutive decisions and six of his last seven, gave up a three-run shot to Cespedes that gave the Mets a 5-1 cushion with two outs in the fourth.
Philadelphia won Hellickson’s previous six starts.
A few pitches before his home run, Cespedes hit a foul line drive about head high that had Syndergaard darting and ducking out of the way as he took a short lead off third base. The night before, Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan barely evaded serious injury when he ducked underneath Cespedes’ scorching liner up the middle.
A.J. Ellis joined the Phillies before the game, caught a couple of bullpens and asked reporters how to pronounce the name of new teammate Jerad Eickhoff. Ellis is set to make his first start for Philadelphia on Sunday when he catches struggling young right-hander Vince Velasquez. The 35-year-old backstop, obtained Thursday from the first-place Dodgers in a surprising trade for longtime Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz, was brought in to mentor the team’s young pitchers.
To open a roster spot for Ellis, the Phillies optioned touted catching prospect Jorge Alfaro back to Double-A Reading after he spent one day in the big leagues on the bench.
Mets: Part-time CF Justin Ruggiano went on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury, and INF T.J. Rivera was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. Fortunately for Rivera, he never left town Friday when he was optioned to the minors to make room for 2B Walker, who came off the paternity leave list. Rivera began getting work in the outfield before the game. … Slumping RF Jay Bruce was given primarily a “mental” day off, according to Terry Collins, though the manager said Bruce’s nagging right calf did act up Friday night as he struck out all four times and was booed by the home crowd during a lopsided victory.
Phillies: The 24-year-old Velasquez (8-6, 4.31 ERA) has lost three straight starts and is winless in seven outings since July 8.
Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman makes his first major league start in the series finale Sunday. He won his debut Tuesday at St. Louis with 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of injured Jonathon Niese.
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)