NEW YORK (AP) -- Daniel Murphy likes the makeup of the New York Mets, and expects there will be no fading from the playoff chase after the break this season.
"I think you take on the identity of your manager, a fiery guy who never gives up, unbelievable starting pitching and when we needed to lean on the bullpen, we leaned on them, and then number 5," Murphy said after the Mets lost to the Chicago Cubs 7-0 on Sunday.
"I think the break couldn't come at a better time for the Mets," he added. "We're three days closer to getting Frank Francisco back, three days closer to getting J. Bay back and I think that makes for a dangerous ballclub in the second half."
Under second-year manager Terry Collins and behind the All-Star production of No. 5, David Wright, the Mets were in a position to move a season high-tying eight games above .500 but continued a recent trend of trading wins and losses. They go into the All-Star break 46-40, third place in the NL East. New York finished a homestand against lowly Philadelphia and Chicago, 3-3.
The Mets haven't been to the playoffs since 2006, and they were over .500 the last two seasons -- including 48-40 in 2010 -- at the break. Injuries and poor play, though, sent the Mets into second-half tailspins. This year they are relatively healthy and should get back closer Frank Francsico and left fielder Jason Bay soon.
"We got to start next week, realizing we're in a fight. We got to get ready," Collins said. "If we can duplicate the first half, I'll take our chances. If we can win 46 in the second half, I'll take our chances."
The Mets had their chances Sunday but Ryan Dempster extended his scoreless innings streak to 27 in his first start in three weeks. All-Star Starlin Castro hit a three-run homer off Jonathon Niese to win the three-game series.
Dempster (4-3) was activated from the disabled list then pitched five innings of four-hit ball in his first outing since June 15, when he experienced tightness in a back muscle. His lengthy string of zeros is the Cubs' best for a starter since Ken Holtzman went 27 innings in 1971.
The Cubs made it as comfortable as possible for Dempster, scoring four runs before he even threw a pitch.
Alfonso Soriano had an RBI single, Jeff Baker a run-scoring double with a jam shot to the opposite field and Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a single against Niese.
Niese (7-4) had only given up four or more runs in a game five times -- 16 starts -- this season entering Sunday.
"They came out swinging," Collins said. "He was trying to get ahead (and) they were hammering the first pitch."
Collins said Johan Santana will not start Friday. Instead, he'll go Sunday or Monday to give his ankle a chance to fully heal. Santana twisted it in Friday's start, when he gave up a career high-tying 13 hits.
"We're going to let Johan's ankle have an extra day or so," Collins said. "He's fine. Don't misread anything."
The Cubs finished the first half in the midst of a modest surge, winning nine of 13 to improve to a disappointing 33-52 in Theo Epstein's first year in charge. It's their worst record before the break since 2006 when they were 34-54.
The team has been a little up and down but everybody hustles right now," Castro said. "Let's see in the second half everybody pull a little bit together and win more games."
Dempster put his streak in jeopardy by allowing a one-out triple to Scott Hairston in the second but he got Jordany Valdespin to line out to second and Josh Thole to groundout to shortstop. Niese and Ruben Tejada opened the third with singles but the Nos. 2-3-4 hitters couldn't capitalize.
After Tejada's hit, Dempster retired nine in a row before being lifted.
"He was way more efficient than we thought," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Everything went well. He feels great."
The right-hander was scheduled to start the Cubs' first game after the All-Star break on Friday but Sveum said Dempster will start Saturday instead to better fit his throwing program. Paul Maholm will move up from Saturday.
Dempster has won four in a row after an 18-start winless streak dating back to Aug. 11. He struck out four and walked none.
Maholm came on in relief for the first time. He made 201 consecutive starts until he entered in the sixth and gave up two hits. But the Mets failed again with runners on. Ike Davis popped to shortstop and Lucas Duda grounded into a double play.
Manuel Corpas, James Russell and Shawn Camp finished the eight-hitter.
Niese had settled in after the first, allowing only one hit until Luis Valbuena singled with one out in the seventh. Reed Johnson singled with two outs and Castro hit the first pitch for a three-run homer, his seventh long ball this year.
Niese allowed seven runs and nine hits in seven innings.
"I thought I made a lot of good pitches," Niese said. "And then when I had guys in scoring position, I made mistakes and they punished 'em."
PIRATES 13, GIANTS 2
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen hit two home runs, Neil Walker had five hits and the Pittsburgh Pirates routed the San Francisco Giants 13-2 on Sunday.
The NL Central-leading Pirates have won six of seven and 10 of 12. They are 34-19 since May 12 for the best record in the majors over that stretch.
Casey McGehee went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for Pittsburgh (48-37), which is 11 games over .500 for the first time since 1992 and in first place at the break for the first time since 1997. A.J. Burnett (10-2) pitched effectively into the seventh to win his ninth consecutive decision.
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (3-10) failed to get out of the fourth inning for the second consecutive start and was charged with six runs and seven hits. The two-time Cy Young Award winner enters the break with a 6.42 ERA that is worst in the majors among qualifying starters.
Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer for San Francisco, which has lost five of six and seven of nine.
BRAVES 4, PHILLIES 3
PHILADELPHIA -- Brian McCann homered for the fourth consecutive game and Dan Uggla hit a two-run shot to lead the Braves to the three-game series sweep.
McCann hit a grand slam on Friday and a solo shot on Saturday. He then hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning against Raul Valdes (2-2) in the series finale.
The five-time NL East champion Phillies stumbled into the All-Star break. They have lost 10 of 11 and are 13 games under .500 (37-50).
Jason Pridie homered, doubled and had three RBIs as a last-minute replacement for Shane Victorino. The Phillies did not say why Victorino was scratched after the badly slumping outfielder was scheduled to hit seventh.
Jair Jurrjens (3-2) pitched seven innings to win his second straight start. Craig Kimbrel worked a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.
CARDINALS 5, MARLINS 4
ST. LOUIS -- Rafael Furcal hit a two-run single off Heath Bell with two out in the ninth inning, capping a three-run rally and lifting the Cardinals to the victory.
Pinch-hitter Austin Kearns put the Marlins up 4-2 with a three-run homer in the seventh.
It was the sixth blown save in 25 chances for Bell (2-5), who signed with Miami over the winter.
Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs (2-1) struck out Donovan Solano with the bases loaded to end the ninth.
The Marlins finished the series without two of their stars. Giancarlo Stanton, the team's lone All-Star, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sunday, and Hanley Ramirez was taken out after five innings of the series finale with a lacerated right finger.
ROCKIES 4, NATIONALS 3
WASHINGTON -- Jordan Pacheco doubled and scored the tiebreaking run on a ninth-inning wild pitch by Tyler Clippard, giving the Rockies a comeback victory.
The NL East-leading Nationals took a 3-1 lead into the eighth, but a meltdown by their usually reliable bullpen cost them a chance to hit the All-Star break with their best record since the team moved to Washington in 2005.
Colorado's rally was fueled by Eric Young's first homer of the season and a pair of wild pitches.
Rex Brothers (4-2) worked the eighth and Rafael Betancourt got his 15th save, striking out pinch-hitter Jesus Flores with two outs and runners at second and third.
Ian Desmond homered and Adam LaRoche had two hits and scored a run for the Nationals. Clippard (2-3) got the loss.
DIAMONDBACKS 7, DODGERS 1
PHOENIX -- Trevor Bauer scattered two hits over six scoreless innings, leading Arizona to the victory.
Paul Goldschmidt homered, doubled and drove in a career-high four runs for the Diamondbacks, who won the final three games of the four-game set to move within four games of the NL West-leading Dodgers.
Bauer (1-1) struck out six, walked one and retired the final 12 batters he faced to earn his first major league victory. He was the third pick in the 2011 draft. Patrick Corbin pitched the final three innings for his first career save.
Chris Capuano (9-4) allowed a season-high five runs over five innings for the Dodgers, who remained a half-game ahead of the Giants heading into the All-Star break. Los Angeles had not led the division at the break since 2009.
Bauer (1-1) struck out six and walked one.
BREWERS 5, ASTROS 3, 10 INNINGS
HOUSTON -- Corey Hart drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 10th inning, and Rickie Weeks' third hit added an insurance run for Milwaukee.
Nyjer Morgan walked to start the 10th and Fernando Rodriguez (1-8) intentionally walked Ryan Braun before a wild pitch moved the pair over.
Rodriguez walked Aramis Ramirez to load the bases and Hart's full-count grounder put Milwaukee on top. Weeks, who homered in the second, then singled in Braun.
Manny Parra (1-3) pitched a perfect ninth for the win and John Axford allowed two hits in a scoreless 10th for his 15th save.
BLUE JAYS 11, WHITE SOX 9
CHICAGO -- Colby Rasmus hit one of four Blue Jays homers and had three RBIs to help Toronto end the White Sox's five-game winning streak.
The first-place White Sox go to the All-Star break with a 47-38 record and a three-game lead in the AL Central. Chicago manager Robin Ventura was ejected in the top of the ninth after charging to the plate to heatedly argue a ball and strike call with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.
Jason Frasor (1-1), the third of five Blue Jays relievers, was credited with the win and Casey Janssen pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his 12th save in 13 chances. He gave up two ninth-inning singles before striking out Alejandro De Aza to end it.
ANGELS 6, ORIOLES 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Brad Mills pitched five innings of three-hit ball in a spot start for the injured Dan Haren after getting called up from the minors, and the Angels got home runs from Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo in a victory over the Orioles.
Mills (1-0) threw 88 pitches on three days' rest in his Angels debut with six strikeouts and no walks.
LaTroy Hawkins, Kevin Jepsen and Jordan Walden each pitched an inning of relief and first-time All-Star Ernesto Frieri closed out the combined five-hitter for his 12th save in as many attempts.
Rookie Wei-Yin Chen (7-5) lost his fourth straight start after winning his previous three outings.
ATHLETICS 2, MARINERS 1, 13 INNINGS
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Reddick hit a game-ending RBI double in the 13th inning to send the Oakland Athletics into the All-Star break with a .500 record.
Jemile Weeks led off the 13th with a single off Oliver Perez (0-2) and then raced around the bases to score on Reddick's drive to left-center field that gave the A's their eighth walk-off win of the season and second this series.
Jordan Norberto (2-1) pitched a scoreless 13th for the win. He worked around a two-out double to Michael Saunders on a fly ball to right center that Coco Crisp and Brandon Moss lost in the sun and a flock of seagulls that hovered over the field in the extra innings.
Oakland's Bartolo Colon was sharp in his second start back from a strained right oblique injury, allowing one run and seven hits in 8 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked none.
YANKEES 7, RED SOX 3
BOSTON -- Ivan Nova struck out 10, Andruw Jones hit his fourth homer in three games and the surging New York Yankees went into the All-Star break with a win over the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees took three of four at Fenway Park and boosted their record to a major league-best 52-33. They hold the biggest division lead in baseball at seven games over Baltimore.
Boston (43-43) dropped its sixth game in the last seven and fell into a last-place tie in the division with the Toronto Blue Jays, 9 1/2 games off the pace.
Nova (10-3) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. Jon Lester (5-6) allowed five runs -- four earned -- in just 4 1/3 innings for Boston.
RANGERS 4, TWINS 3, 13 INNINGS
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler hit a winning RBI single with one out in the 13th inning and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins after tying the game with three unearned runs in the ninth.
Texas had the bases loaded when Kinsler, one of eight Texas players headed to the All-Star game, hit a liner into the left-center field gap that bounced against the wall while his teammates stormed out the dugout to celebrate the team's second consecutive 4-3 extra-inning victory.
Scott Feldman (3-6), the eighth Rangers pitcher, worked the last two innings. Alex Burnett (2-2) took the loss.
Along with extra innings in the last game before the All-Star break, there was a 46-minute delay in the fourth inning that started with a lightning bolt and a loud clap of thunder.