Phillies set for rubber match with Mets

( - There will be afternoon baseball at Citi Field Wednesday, as the Philadelphia Phillies target a series win over the NL East- rival New York Mets.

The Mets pounded the Phillies, 7-1, in Monday's series opener, but the Phillies returned the favor with last night's 6-0 victory behind another stellar showing from possible trade candidate Cole Hamels.

Hamels improved to 4-0 in his last five starts with eight shutout innings and allowed six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. He has walked just one batter in his last three starts -- all Philadelphia wins.

The 2008 World Series MVP was asked about possibly being traded afterward.

"All I know is I signed here for a very extended period of time, so that's what I'm going to uphold, to be a Phillie as long as I possibly can because I enjoy it," Hamels said on the club's website. "This is the place that I want to win again."

Phillies young reliever Ken Giles closed the game out in the ninth.

Chase Utley backed Hamels with a grand slam in the seventh inning, while Jimmy Rollins and Grady Sizemore also went deep for the Phillies, who have won four of their last six games. Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd rested Tuesday and is also a potential trade candidate.

Philadelphia will resume its road trip with four games in Washington and can only hope Kyle Kendrick solves his first-inning woes when he takes the mound Wednesday. Kendrick has a 10.29 earned run average in the first inning this season and is just 2-4 in his last seven starts.

He won his last outing Friday in a 9-5 triumph over Arizona and gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. Kendrick, who is 5-10 with a 4.87 ERA, has allowed three or more runs in four straight starts (21 total).

Kendrick, who is only 2-5 in 11 road assignments, has an 8-8 mark and a 3.71 ERA in 24 career games (18 starts) against the Mets. He has no record in two starts against them this season.

Meanwhile, the Mets are also in position for a series win this afternoon and had won two straight and five of seven games before Tuesday's loss.

Curtis Granderson and Eric Campbell had two hits apiece and David Wright recorded the lone extra-base hit with a double. Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee fell to 4-4 on the season after allowing five runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.

"The most frustrating part is I thought I threw the ball a lot better than I have in the last few outings," said Gee. "When the end result still isn't there, it's very frustrating."

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda was given the night off and has an RBI in each of his last five games. Duda has hit four home runs and driven in eight runs in his previous seven games.

The Mets will host San Francisco next for four games on this homestand.

Zack Wheeler hopes to stay stingy on the mound for the Mets Wednesday and has allowed only one run in each of his last five starts. After giving up six runs in just two innings in a loss to Oakland on June 25, Wheeler has improved tremendously with a 2-0 mark and 1.41 ERA in the past five outings.

Wheeler has posted back-to-back no-decisions and was touched for two runs -- one earned -- and three hits over 6 2/3 innings of a 3-2 win at Milwaukee on Friday. He struck out nine batters and is 5-8 with a 3.64 ERA this season.

The right-hander, who is 3-1 in last four decisions, has a 2-4 mark in eight outings at Citi Field and a 1-1 record with a 2.55 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies. Wheeler defeated Philadelphia on May 29 on the road, tossing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball with nine K's in a 4-1 triumph.

New York had won four straight against the Phillies until last night and is 7-4 in the season series. Utley, who has hit safely in six straight games at Citi Field, has 43 career home runs against the Mets.