Lucas Duda made quite a first impression in his audition for the
first-base job by hitting two-run homers in consecutive at-bats to
lead the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.
The start at first base was the second straight for Duda, but the
first since manager Terry Collins informed him after Thursday's game
that he would get several starts and the opportunity to distance
himself from fellow first basemen Ike Davis and Josh Satin, each of
whom had a start in the season's first two games.
"It's great to certainly have him step forward and step up today and
do what he did," Collins said. "As we've said many, many times,
sometimes it's just about confidence. And maybe once in a while,
when you feel good about yourself, you can start to do what
everybody expects you to do."
Duda certainly did that Friday, when he made all the routine plays
at first while exhibiting both patient plate approach and raw power
the Mets have been enamored with since they selected him out of
Southern California in the seventh round of the 2007 draft.
Duda worked a five-pitch walk in the first before hitting his first
two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Mike Leake
in the fourth inning. Two innings later, he deposited a 2-1 Leake
pitch into the right-field seats for his fifth career two-homer game
and his first since April 19, 2013.
Afterward, the famously soft-spoken Duda said he didn't feel any
extra confidence or derive any additional satisfaction from the
"I was just glad to play," Duda said. "Glad we got the win tonight."
The pair of Duda homers kept the Mets from falling to 0-4 for the
fifth time in franchise history and made a winner out of
right-hander Jenrry Mejia, who allowed one run and struck out a
career-high eight over six innings. Mejia allowed four hits and five
walks but stranded seven runners and ended his evening by striking
out Leake to leave runners at the corners in the sixth.
A combustible Mets bullpen — New York relievers allowed 12 runs
over 9 1/3 innings in the three-game sweep at the hands of the
Nationals earlier this week — preserved the win, albeit in
Left-hander John Lannan allowed a two-run homer to right fielder Jay
Bruce in the seventh before right-hander Kyle Farnsworth tossed 1
1/3 scoreless innings. Farnsworth got an assist from backup catcher
Anthony Recker, who entered the game with Farnsworth in a double
switch in the seventh and threw out the speedy Billy Hamilton trying
to steal second for the second out of the eighth.
Hamilton, who stole a minor league record 155 bases in 2012, is
13-for-15 as a big leaguer and has only been caught by backup Mets
catchers. Juan Centeno threw out Hamilton in Cincinnati last Sept.
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"You've got to make a great throw and he made a great throw, right
on the money," Collins said. "When you win tough games, you've got
to have big plays. And that was a big play for us."
Right-hander Jose Valverde, pitching in his first save opportunity
for the Mets, allowed a walk and a single with one out in the ninth
but escaped the jam by retiring first baseman Joey Votto on a fly
out and striking out Bruce.
"It was a good game for us tonight," Collins said. "We needed it
Bruce went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and all three RBIs for the
Reds (1-3), who have opened the season with four straight one-run
"It's frustrating to lose," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And more
frustrating to lose by one run than to get blown out."
Center fielder Roger Bernadina drew three walks and catcher Brayan
Pena reached base in three of his four plate appearances via two
walks and a single.
Leake allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking
out three over 6 2/3 innings.
NOTES: Intermittent daylong rains resumed shortly after the first
pitch, but the game started on time — which was surely welcome news
to the Reds, who endured a total of six hours and 22 minutes of rain
delays on Wednesday and Thursday in Cincinnati. ... Reds RHP
Jonathon Broxton, who is on the disabled list with a forearm injury,
was scheduled to begin a rehab appearance at Double-A Pensacola on
Friday night. Manager Bryan Price said Broxton would pitch again
Saturday and could be activated Monday as long as he comes out of
the weekend healthy. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos, who underwent left knee
surgery on Feb. 14, is scheduled to make his next rehab start on
Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville. Latos threw 75 pitches in his first
rehab start on Wednesday. ... The Mets' 39 strikeouts through their
first three games were four shy of the big league record, set last
season by Houston. ... RHP Rafael Montero, one of the Mets' top
prospects, threw six shutout innings in his season debut for
Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday night.
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