Independence Day Applesauce: Mets Set Off Fireworks A Day Early In Rout, Declare Their Independence From Phillies In Standings

Was this picture taken during the game or afterwards?

Meet the Mets

Today is America's birthday but the Mets got a head start on the celebration last night, whipping out some fireworks of their own in an 11-1 victory over the last place Phillies (side note: say the phrase "last place Phillies" a few times to yourself--it's incredibly soothing). The Mets had it all on the day before Independence Day--great pitching over eight innings from Jon Niese, strong defense from David Wright, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy, the latter two who made leaping grabs on separate Hunter Pence line drives, and of course the offense. The Amazins' piled up the hits against Phillies' starter Vance Worley, as they put up multiple runs in the second, fourth, sixth and eighth innings. Daniel Murphy led the charge with four hits, four RBI and he came up a home run short of the cycle. Ruben Tejada, meanwhile, had an impressive day in the leadoff slot, beginning the game with an 11-pitch at bat and going 3-5 overall. David Wright had just one hit but it was a big one, a long three-run home run to straight away center field that put the game totally out of reach. It was an impressive team performance from the Mets, who treated the fans at Citi Field to two fireworks shows: the game and the scheduled fireworks show afterwards. Happy birthday, America!

Choose Your Recap: MLB.com, ESPN NY, Daily News, New York Times, Associated Press, Star-Ledger, Bergen Record

It's a quick turnaround for the Phillies and Mets as they're scheduled to take the field in Queens at 1:10 PM today. It'll be Chris Young on the hill up against winless ace Cliff Lee.

In injury news, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was scratched from Tuesday evening's lineup after injuring his hand during batting practice. Meanwhile, Jason Bay is targeting a post All-Star break return from his concussion--he's been symptom-free for two weeks now.

As the Mets continue to win, the trade rumors will continue to roll in leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. The most recent rumor, via Ken Davidoff, is that the Mets may have some interest in re-acquiring former closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers.

Before his start last night, Patrick Flood looked at the difference between Jon Niese in the first half and the second half in his big league career.

Sandy Alderson had more to say on Twitter regarding Pablo Sandoval's late charge into the NL starting third base gig in the All Star game.

In New York Magazine, David Roth compares the way R.A. Dickey speaks to the way R.A. Dickey pitches.

Around the NL East

The Braves beat up on the Cubs 10-3 in Atlanta on Tuesday, while the Nationals similarly romped over the Giants 9-3, as Tim Lincecum allowed a career-high eight runs. Finally, the Marlins fell to the Brewers 13-12. The Fish took a 10th inning lead on Jose Reyes' solo home run but Heath Bell allowed a walk-off two run home run to Aramis Ramirez. Or perhaps it's spelled Heath BeLOL now.

Around the Majors

Chipper Jones is headed to his final All-Star game. Jones, who was on the ballot for the final spot on the NL team, was chosen to replaced the injured Matt Kemp.

Cardinals' ace is going to undergo season ending surgery on his ailing shoulder. Incredible that he was able to pitch so much and so effectively in 2011 but I guess all of those stressful innings took a toll. Or something.

Roy Halladay is on his way back and it looks like he could return immediately after the all star break, without going on a rehab assignment. This sounds like a great idea! (Insert sarcasm font here).

The Red Sox finally cut ties with injured reliever Bobby Jenks on Tuesday, agreeing to a contract settlement. Jenks threw in just 19 games for the Sox over the length of his two year contract.

Remember Elijah Dukes, the embattled Rays and Nationals outfielder? He was arrested on Tuesday morning, his second arrest this year. How sad.

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