It is a chore, of course, but the Mets lately have been doing their best to drag their followers from doubt to faith, from realism to magic.

With Monday night's 7-1 victory over the Phillies, the Mets (51-55) bumped one step closer to mediocrity. Even relevancy.

Suddenly, the Mets are the National League leaders in July victories, with 14. They have won five of their last seven and 14 of their last 21.

In the season's context, that may not be much. Their chances of reaching the postseason remain decidedly slim, 7 1/2 games behind NL East leader Washington and 6 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

So now, "the big picture is real simple," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to play good. We can't stop. The record takes care of itself if you play good."

One Met after another seems to rise from the ashes these nights: Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, demoted to the minors with his .180 average in early June, Monday night was 3-for-4 and cracked a three-run homer. He has batted .310 since his return June 24.

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Formerly platooned first baseman Lucas Duda picked up his eighth RBI in seven games with a first-inning single and centerfielder Juan Lagares, only 1-for-24 in his previous eight games, capped the Mets' four-run first with a two-run double.

"Huge for him and, more importantly, that was huge for us," d'Arnaud said of Lagares' hit.

Steady Daniel Murphy was 2-for-4, his fourth straight multihit game, with two doubles, an RBI and a run.

And 41-year-old Bartolo Colon (10-8, 3.88 ERA), though not nearly as sharp as when he retired the first 20 Seattle batters in his last start, judiciously scattered 10 hits over 7 2/ innings.

It could be that the Mets ultimately will reinforce Zeno's Paradox, the Greek philosophy which holds that forward motion is nothing but an allusion. It could be that the centrifugal forces of a Thursday trade -- Colon repeatedly is rumored to be the most likely Met moved -- will pull apart what efficiency suddenly has come together for them.

"If anybody comes after Bartolo Colon," Collins said, "they're getting one of the real, true veteran guys. You're not just looking at a guy who's got experience; this guy is down-to-earth, he is calm, he's not rattled by anything. He's an inning-eating machine. And this guy brings something to the clubhouse. I think our young Latin relief pitchers will attest to that."

Whether he goes or stays, Colon said through a translator, "is really not up to me. I'm happy here. I know there's talk about it. It's everywhere. But I don't really pay attention to it."

Colon takes what Collins described as the only reasonable approach: To understand that "half the time nothing happens" regarding trade possibilities. "In fact, the majority of time, nothing happens. So you've just got to go perform."

Philadelphia already was down by seven runs -- all in five rocky innings for loser A.J. Burnett (6-10, 4.15) -- when back-to-back doubles by Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz finally chased Colon with two outs in the eighth.

So the Mets continue to lean on their solid pitching. But after nine straight games when their offense seemed to run the gamut from A to B, totaling three or fewer runs in each, their attack was fairly amazing Monday night.