NEW YORK – Cole Hamels is an All-Star against everyone but the Mets.
It seems that holds true no matter who's in the lineup.
Scott Hairston, subbing for ailing slugger Carlos Beltran, hit a long homer and drove in a career-best five runs as New York hammered the Philadelphia Phillies' ace yet again in an 11-2 victory Saturday.
"Haven't really been able to get a good roll against them," Hamels said. "It's kind of one of those games where you just want to throw it out."
Daniel Murphy also went deep and Jonathon Niese pitched seven strong innings to help the depleted Mets snap a three-game skid. Fielding a makeshift lineup minus its four biggest bats, New York rapped out 15 hits and improved to 4-7 this season against the NL East leaders, who own baseball's best record.
Hamels yielded seven earned runs, matching a career high, and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings while falling to 3-10 in 16 career games against the Mets.
"All four guys he walked, definitely it hurt him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But at the same time, he wasn't hitting his spots. He wasn't making his pitches."
Beltran sat out with the flu and a high fever, so Mets manager Terry Collins inserted a not-so-secret weapon against Hamels (11-5).
Hairston batted third in large part because he entered with a .353 career average (6 for 17) and three homers against the left-hander, one of Philadelphia's three All-Star starters.
"When you have good numbers against an opponent, it gives you confidence. Confidence helps at the plate," Collins said.
Those big numbers quickly ballooned even more.
Hairston doubled his first two times up, driving in two runs and scoring one as New York built a 4-0 lead by the fourth. He hit a three-run shot off Danys Baez in the seventh to make it 11-2, a drive to left that sailed into the rarely reached second deck at spacious Citi Field.
New York totaled 10 runs in its previous five games, an understandable slump considering the competition. Hamels was the fifth All-Star starter the Mets faced in a span of six games, going 2-3.
"They're a good team. Obviously they're young, but at the same time you have to make pitches and I wasn't able to make pitches," Hamels said. "I was up in the zone the majority of the time."
His demise Saturday came much to the delight of fans who remember that Hamels called the Mets "choke artists" in December 2008 after their second consecutive September collapse.
He lasted only 2 2-3 innings in a 7-1 loss to the Mets on April 5 and had dropped five consecutive starts against them before striking out 10 in a 5-2 victory May 28 at Citi Field.
"It's been I guess a coin flip," Hamels said. "When you play a team so often, that's bound to happen."
Niese (9-7) allowed one earned run and six hits while striking out six and walking one.
The left-hander, who is 9-4 in his last 15 starts, hardly ran into any trouble besides a bases-loaded jam in the seventh that he soon escaped.
"If we're going to score more runs, generate more runs in the second half, we've definitely got to hit left-handed pitchers better," Manuel said.
Miscommunication on the Philadelphia infield made for an unlucky early moment for Hamels, whose ERA spiked from 2.32 to 2.71.
Hairston doubled with two outs in the first and hustled home when Murphy's harmless-looking popup dropped between first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley, who both backed away as the ball descended.
"Originally I called it and then it was kind of loud and I thought he said that he had it," said Howard, who sat staring into his locker, still in uniform, for a long while before hitting the showers. "I kind of saw him in the corner of my eye and heard him. He was saying my name and I mistook it for him saying that he got it, that he was calling me off."
Howard got a derisive cheer when he gloved Evans' foulout the next inning.
"We got off to a bad start," Manuel said.
New York went down 1-2-3 in the second, but Hamels never found a groove. He issued a leadoff walk to Niese in the third and that proved costly when Hairston lined a two-run double under the glove of third baseman Wilson Valdez, filling in for injured All-Star Placido Polanco.
Evans drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and scored on Angel Pagan's sacrifice fly.
Murphy opened the fifth with his sixth home run, and the Mets added two more in the inning.
NOTES: Phillies CF Shane Victorino (sprained right thumb) was set to begin a rehab assignment Saturday night with Double-A Reading at Trenton. Philadelphia reliever Brad Lidge (strained rotator cuff) also was scheduled to appear in that game. ... Manuel said SS Jimmy Rollins felt tightness in his leg early in the game, but that's not why he was removed in the seventh. ... Beltran was not at the ballpark and his status for Sunday was uncertain, Collins said. ... Hairston has four doubles off Hamels in 20 at-bats.