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Bench plays big role as Mets win, take series from Phillies

Johnny Monell gets a hit during a game

Johnny Monell gets a hit during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, May 10, 2015, in Philadelphia. Credit: AP

PHILADELPHIA - The win required another hair-raising inning of bullpen theater and a timely pinch hit from a player at the end of the bench.

But the Mets escaped Citizens Bank Park with their second consecutive series victory, this one by virtue of a 7-4 win over the Phillies Sunday.

In only his second at-bat as a member of the Mets, third-string catcher Johnny Monell ripped a two-run double in the eighth inning. The pinch hit changed the complexion of what had been a tense, one-run game.

"I ended up squaring it up pretty good and it ends up in the gap," Monell said after the first pinch hit of his career.

An inning before, the Mets nearly let it get out of hand when a bout of wildness forced lefthanded reliever Alex Torres to wiggle out of a jam.

On Saturday, Torres endured a poor outing, throwing nine pitches that all would have been balls had it not been for a charitable strike call. He looked only slightly better Sunday.

Torres walked Ben Revere on four pitches -- none of them close -- and later plunked Chase Utley. Those mistakes loaded the bases. But after a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Torres got Ryan Howard to ground out to first on the first pitch he saw.

Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth and recorded his 13th save, tying the Yankees' Andrew Miller for the most in the major leagues.

With the victory, Bartolo Colon (6-1) is tied for the major-league lead in wins with the Mariners' Felix Hernandez. Colon allowed four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings, good enough on a day when the Mets' sputtering offense broke out.

"We needed to get going," manager Terry Collins said.

The lineup did not include Michael Cuddyer, Kevin Plawecki or Dilson Herrera. And the remaining names appeared in unusual spots, including Daniel Murphy, who was elevated from fifth to third.

But the unusual alignment chased Chad Billingsley after only five innings. The Mets banged out a season-high 14 hits and scored their most runs since April 25.

Murphy finished 3-for-4 and again will hit third when the Mets begin a four-game series Monday in Chicago.

Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer, and scuffling Wilmer Flores lined an RBI single.

Leftfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has languished on the bench and entered play with a .087 average. But he delivered a run-scoring hit, swiped third base and scored on the errant throw.

Nieuwenhuis ended the game with a nice sliding catch against the leftfield wall in foul territory, capping an afternoon in which the Mets improved to 20-11 and maintained a 31/2-game lead over the suddenly surging Nationals.

"With a 162-game season, you can't rely on [the regulars] every single day," Nieuwenhuis said. "It takes more than 25 guys, as you've seen with injuries and stuff like that. But with the schedule the way it is, you need everybody."

That includes Monell, the 32nd player used by the Mets this season.

The 29-year-old journeyman last collected a big-league hit in 2013 during his cup of coffee with the Giants. Since then, he had toiled in the minors until a promotion on May 5.

Monell was nothing more than an observer for most of his first four games until Saturday, when he came off the bench to hit into a double play. But Sunday against reliever Jeanmar Gomez, Monell proved ready for the moment, delivering the hit that put the Mets firmly in the driver's seat.

Said Collins: "When you get those kinds of nights out of those guys, that's how you win."

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