NEW YORK -- If the Philadelphia Phillies are going to make a playoff push with another successful second half, this certainly was an emphatic start.
"Obviously, that doesn't happen all the time. But going into the break we realized that we needed to win some games, so I don't think we all just sat on the couch for four days," Utley said.
Philadelphia roughed up familiar foil Jeremy Hefner in its seventh consecutive victory at Citi Field and leapfrogged Washington into second place in the NL East, 6 games behind Atlanta. Michael Young hit a three-run homer, Utley had a two-run drive and Brown a solo shot as the Phillies (49-48) won their ninth in 12 games to move over .500 for only the second time this season.
Philadelphia entered with a major league-best .616 winning percentage after the All-Star break since 2007.
"Keep going. Keep going. We've got to have a better record," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we're definitely coming to the ballpark with the mindset that we're going to win the game, and that's our No. 1 priority."
While the Phillies have made themselves right at home in Queens, the Mets keep struggling in their own ballpark. Back on the field after hosting the All-Star game Tuesday for the first time since 1964, they fell to an NL-worst 17-28 at home.
Utley tripled and drove in three runs on a 95-degree night that made Citi Field feel like a sauna. Delmon Young had three hits and Brown, fresh off his All-Star debut, tagged Hefner once again while adding three hits and two RBIs.
Brown is 6 for 6 with two homers, a double, two walks and seven RBIs against Hefner in his career.
"After four days off, to see the bats come alive like that, that was good to see," Brown said. "We had an early BP, everybody looked pretty good and we just took it into the game."
John Mayberry Jr. also knocked in two runs, and every Philadelphia position player had at least one hit and scored by the third inning. The beneficiary of all that early offense was Kyle Kendrick (9-6), who came to bat before throwing a pitch. Handed an 11-0 cushion, he gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"Obviously, I needed it tonight," Kendrick said about the offensive outburst. "I like pitching in this weather. I just couldn't make a pitch, I felt like. ... But the offense picked me up."
Kendrick, who threw a three-hit shutout April 26 at Citi Field, improved to 4-1 in five starts at the ballpark and 13-3 in his last 19 against NL East teams.
"We left him out there too long. KK might have gotten a little dry inside," Brown said.
Hefner (4-7) came in with a 1.76 ERA in his past eight starts, the best mark in the majors since June 4, but he's often run into big problems when facing the Phillies. Chased after getting only six outs, Hefner dropped to 2-3 with a 13.75 ERA in six career outings against Philadelphia.
"I don't know what it is about the Phillies. I know how to get them out, I just need to execute," he said.
Rollins, who had been hitting third, has batted in each of the top three slots at least 20 times this season.
"To me, the lineup we've got right now, that's where he goes," Manuel said before the game.
Rollins singled to start the game and scored on Utley's one-out triple off the 408 sign on the center-field fence. Brown hit an RBI single, Delmon Young drove in a run with an infield single and Mayberry added an RBI single before Hefner finally ended a 38-pitch inning that lasted 20 minutes.
It only got worse in the third, when Philadelphia scored seven runs and batted around for the second time.
Brown sent an 0-2 breaking ball into the second deck in right for his 24th home run. Darin Ruf doubled and scored when Byrd overran Delmon Young's single in right field for an error. Mayberry smacked a run-scoring double that chased Hefner before Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double off Greg Burke.
"We always looked good on paper, and I thought it was just a matter of time before things started coming together," Brown said.
- Mayberry made his 17th start of the season in center, but assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the Phillies are looking into "all sorts" of other options. "I wouldn't rule anything out," he said. "We haven't had a situation that merited pulling the trigger at this point."
- New York rookie Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54 ERA) pitches Saturday against LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), who is 6-11 with a 4.28 ERA in 23 starts against the Mets.