Carlos Torres has spent so much time in the Mets' bullpen this season that there were times during Thursday's start at Citi Field when he forgot that he could pitch out of the windup.
"I caught myself a few times," said Torres, who carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning in an 11-3 win over the Phillies.
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Thrust into the starting rotation after Matt Harvey was sidelined with a season-ending partially torn UCL in his right elbow, Torres allowed one run and four hits in 62/3 innings, striking out six. His performance was a much-needed bright spot in a tough week for the Mets.
"We have to have starting pitching, you win with starting pitching and we needed someone to step up," manager Terry Collins said. "It was good to have Carlos step up because we don't know what's going to happen here the next couple of weeks."
It easily was Torres' best performance of the season. Torres, who has bounced between the starting rotation and bullpen, entered the game with a 2-2 record and 3.00 ERA in 22 games, three of which he started. In those starts, he went 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA.
"His command was great. He was keeping the ball down and throwing strikes," said Anthony Recker, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth and made a diving catch of a bunt in foul territory on his 30th birthday. "It's just an awesome job mentally by him to be able to go out there after bouncing around so much."
Recker wasn't the only Met who got big hits Thursday. Daniel Murphy went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Eric Young Jr. had a three-run triple to anchor the Mets' four-run seventh. Andrew Brown hit a solo home run and an RBI single.
Notes & quotes: Triple-A relief pitcher Vic Black is the player to be named coming from the Pirates to complete the Marlon Byrd / John Buck trade. The Mets also received second-base prospect Dilson Herrera.