Sweet 16: Power surge lifts Mets

Sweet 16: Power surge lifts Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets played the Phillies on Monday night in Citizens Bank Park, one of the few big-league arenas unfamiliar to Willie Randolph. The new manager had watched telecasts of games played in the Phillies' still-new digs and heard the word-of-mouth scouting reports: "It plays small," they said.

But until Randolph saw for himself, he would reserve judgment. "It'll be interesting to see how it plays," he said.

It wasn't all that interesting Monday night. The Bank didn't play quite small enough for the Mets in their one-run loss. But it shrunk nicely overnight, and by Tuesday, it couldn't contain them. The team that had hit 12 home runs in its first 13 games hit a club-record seven in its 14th -- one a grand slam by David Wright -- and buried the Phillies, 16-4.

The onslaught also included two home runs each by Victor Diaz and Jose Reyes, a monster shot to center field by Mike Piazza and a more pedestrian home run by Doug Mientkiewicz, not to mention a two-run triple by Victor Zambrano, the right-place, right-time winning pitcher.

"And if I'd been in there, I would have hit one, too," Tom Glavine said.

Maybe so. The Mets filled the warm air with baseballs, and The Bank did a convincing impersonation of Ebbets Field. Reyes hit the evening's fourth pitch for an opposite-field home run to left. And it served as the first domino.

Four others followed before the end of the third inning. Reyes hit his second in the fourth, and Wright hit the first slam of is career in the sixth, when the Mets put the final touches on their highest run output since 1999.

"It's a fun place to hit," Wright said, choosing to attribute the production to the ballpark rather than the pitchers who had assisted.

Five of the home runs came against losing pitcher Vicente Padilla, usually a Mets nemesis. Making his first start of the season after recovering from tricep tendinitis, Padilla was gone after four innings and eight runs. At one point, he surrendered four home runs and seven runs in an 11-batter sequence.

The Bank never seemed smaller. Reyes' second and Wright's slam were off Gavin Floyd, who, like Padilla, surrendered eight runs in three innings.

For the Mets, it was all rather therapeutic. Coming in, Reyes had three hits in 24 at-bats following his game-winner against the Astros last Wednesday. Diaz still was carrying the guilt of a baserunning gaffe Monday, and Wright's average had the look of an Interstate sign not far from The Bank -- .195.

The three combined for five hits, 10 RBI and, as they dressed for a flight to Miami, untold smiles.

After losing track of the outs and running the team out of a possible rally Monday, Diaz said, "And there's a lot of scoreboards here."

The Mets almost overloaded them Tuesday. They had 15 hits and 39 total bases, one less than the club record. The last time they scored more runs or won by a greater margin was their 17-1 victory in Houston in 1999 when Edgardo Alfonzo had six hits.

This one was a team effort. Each player in the starting lineup had at least one hit once Carlos Beltran singled in the ninth.

"I'm going to have bat leadoff now, and let Jose bat third," Beltran said.

Seven players drove in runs -- Wright and Diaz four each. And the home runs kept flying, particularly Piazza's prodigious poke in the third. It nearly reached the concourse well above and beyond left-center field.

"That was one of my favorite things to watch," Wright said. "The face Mike makes when he hits one like that, the ugly face. And then he leans back and watches it."

"Years ago, [the look] was exhilaration," Piazza said. "Now it's pain."

Though not hit particularly high, Piazza's home run had Ray Guy hangtime because of its distance, estimated at 471 feet. Wright's was a no-loft line drive. Mientkiewicz's was a shot to right. Diaz's first cleared the center-field wall. Each probably was home run in any current park. Asterisks might have been needed for the others -- * Bank-aided.

"Any time you get away from Shea, you're ahead of the game," Mientkiewicz said.

Seven home runs in one game by a Major League team happened as recently as 2003. But the Mets' record was six. The '88 Mets had hit six home runs in a game -- Opening Day 1988, in Montreal with Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds hitting two each, and the '99 team did likewise in Cincinnati, June 15, 1999, with Rickey Henderson hitting two.

The Phillies hit home runs as well -- David Bell and Chase Utley, both against Zambrano, who pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and four runs (two earned) to gain his first victory. Reyes gave him a lead, but he allowed a run in the first, too, as the Mets seem to do every game.

But Padilla couldn't stop the Mets as he often had in the past. The loss was his second in nine career decisions and 10 starts against the Mets. He struggled mightily with his command. The pitches were fat. Now his ERA is 24.00.

"It was just one of those games," Randolph said.

Or, upon further review, just one of those parks.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.