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Morning Briefing: Aw-Phil defeat

FIRST PITCH: Since allowing six runs and lasting only two innings against the Oakland Athletics on June 25, Zack Wheeler has been on a tear.

Wheeler has allowed one earned run and completed at least six innings in each of his last five starts.

If Wheeler can duplicate that feat in Wednesday’s 12:10 p.m. rubber game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he will become the first Mets pitcher since R.A. Dickey in May/June 2012 to go six straight starts logging at least six innings and surrendering no more than one earned run in each outing.

Wheeler (5-8, 3.64 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87) in the series finale at Citi Field.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Cole Hamels tossed eight scoreless innings and Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore and Chase Utley homered as the Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0, Tuesday. Dillon Gee was charged with five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, although the bulk of the damage came when Josh Edgin inherited the bases loaded from Gee and surrendered a grand slam to Utley.

Gee now has a 7.11 career ERA against the Phillies -- the highest mark against any team he has faced multiple times.

Gee also has an 8.10 ERA in three second-half starts. He suggested he was frustrated with Tuesday’s result because he felt like he improved from the previous two outings. He did not blame fatigue for his contribution to the seventh-inning meltdown, but said: “It seems like I haven’t thrown over 80 pitches in three months.”

Edgin said about Utley’s slam: “No offense to anyone here, but I left it right down the middle of the plate and put it out there for him to hit it. He did.”

Hamels has struggled during his career against the Mets, which now spans 30 starts. His scoreless effort Tuesday was his first against the Mets since his first-ever meeting against the club, on Aug. 14, 2006 as a rookie.

Read game recaps in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Terry Collins is tiring of inquiries about why Wilmer Flores does not play more frequently. Read more in Newsday.

• With Sandy Alderson having joked on Monday that acquiring a player with a $20 million salary might lead to David Wright, Curtis Granderson and “22 dwarfs” on the roster, Zach Braziller in the Post compiled a list of the top money-themed jokes by the GM during his Mets tenure.

On the Daisuke Matsuzaka and Masahiro Tanaka signings, Alderson said in January: “We each signed Japanese pitchers this week. They’re paying $155 million and we’re paying our guy month to month.”

And who could forget the tweet that started it all from back on the eve of spring training in 2012? It read: “Will have to drive carefully on trip; Mets only reimburse for gas at a downhill rate. Will try to coast all the way to FL.”

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests forgetting about Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Instead, he suggests the Mets’ winter activity will be far more relevant. Writes Rieber:

Because for the first time in a long time, we're starting to buy into the notion that the Mets are only a piece or two away from being a contender -- if the Wilpons can pony up the dough this winter to get a big-time shortstop and outfielder to complement the young players manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen have done a nice job developing this season.

Always the big question with the Mets, right? Dollars and sense. Are the Wilpons ready, willing and financially able to allow Alderson to make bold trades or free-agent signings?

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post enumerates reasons why the Mets can be competitive during the season’s final two months.

• Check out a sneak peak of the Citi Field scenes from Sharknado 2 here. It will be televised at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

• Dilson Herrera had a solo homer in the eighth and walk-off sacrifice fly an inning later as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 4-3. Rob Whalen is now 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA in the South Atlantic League after Savannah’s 8-3 win against Lexington. Casey Meisner earned his first win in 364 days as Brooklyn beat Lowell, 4-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Matt Harvey took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

• Marc Carig in Newsday writes that Jacob deGrom is making a case for NL Rookie of the Year.

• Will Sammon in Newsday discusses Juan Lagares' plate discipline.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Met Clint Hurdle, now manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, turns 57. ... Casey Stengel was born in 1890. ... Ellis Valentine was born on this date in 1954.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

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