By RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Lucas Duda popped the ball up in the first
inning, then jogged up the first-base line. When the ball dropped
behind third baseman Gil Velazquez into short left field, he wound
up with only a single.
An inning later, Mets manager Terry Collins pulled Duda from the
Even when New York won at home for the first time in nearly a
month, the Mets couldn’t do it without controversy.
“I know he didn’t do it on purpose,” Collins said after Friday
night’s 7-3 win over the Miami Marlins. “But as I told him when he
came off the field, we’ve made a statement here. We’re not going to
play the game like that, especially right now. Had we won 10 of the
last 12 or 15 of the last 20, you can kind of turn your head. But I
couldn’t turn my head tonight.”
Scott Hairston hit a two-run homer and RBI triple, Ike Davis
homered and Jonathon Niese reached 12 wins for the first time in
his career. Coming off a 16-1 wipeout against Philadelphia, New
York had lost nine straight at home since beating Houston on Aug.
26. The Mets won for only the fifth time in their last 30 games at
While loud rap music played in the clubhouse after the game,
there was the lingering sour aftertaste of Duda’s blunder.
“I hit a ball that I felt I should have hit but I didn’t and I
was frustrated,” he said. “I didn’t bust down the line and Terry
pulled me out. That’s pretty much how it is. I would have done the
same thing. … I didn’t hustle, and he took me out.”
With three runs in the first and two more in the second, the
Mets ended a team-record streak of 16 home games without scoring
more than three runs.
“David came through the dugout before the game, giving
everybody a high-5 for five, for five runs,” Collins said of David
Wright. “It worked out.”
Fourth-place New York (67-83) would have dropped into the NL
East cellar with a loss but instead opened a 11/2-game lead over the
last-place Marlins (66-55).
“It felt like a playoff game win,” Collins said somewhat
It was a brutal game to watch. In the first two innings, a team
missed a popup and a fly ball, botched a grounder and threw a
run-scoring wild pitch.
In a surprise, the guilty club was the Marlins, not the Mets.
“The way we play the first three innings, it was
embarrassing,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think if I
was pitching in that game, I might fight with somebody.”
Former Met Jose Reyes a brutal night at shortstop, blowing a
double play on a line drive and making a throwing error on a
grounder. Guillen dropped his face into his hand when Reyes caught
Davis’ fifth-inning line drive, then failed to realize he could
have doubled up Daniel Murphy at second base.
“It is embarrassing, yeah,” Reyes said. “I need to just stay
focused. But it’s in the past. We’ve got another game tomorrow.”
Did Reyes lose track out of the outs?
“He lose track of a lot of things today,” Guillen said. “He
had a bad game. Mentally, he had a bad game. First game we see him
do that. That happens. Hopefully that won’t happen for the rest of
the season. But I don’t think he was there much.”
Miami’s abysmal performance also included a dropped third strike
and Justin Ruggiano’s failed attempt at a diving catch on
Hairston’s triple that led to the left fielder leaving with a
sprained right shoulder. If not for generous scoring, six of the
Mets’ runs could have been unearned.
Niese (12-9) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings
as New York won for just the second time in 12 games overall.
“It had been a while, but it’s real fun, turn on the music and
celebrating with the teammates,” Niese said. “The last few games
at home have been pretty rough.”
Jacob Turner (1-3) gave up six runs _ three earned _ and eight
hits in five innings.
Murphy singled with one out in the first and stole second, and
Ike Davis’ hard two-out grounder went past second baseman Donovan
Solano for an RBI single, a play at first ruled an error by
official scorer Howie Karpin.
Hairston followed with his career-best 18th home run, a drive
into the left-field seats that was the Mets’ first extra-base hit
in the first three innings at Citi Field since Aug. 22, according
to STATS LLC.
“It was a very ugly and very embarrassing game for us. At least
for me,” Guillen said. “I hope it was an embarrassing game for
NOTES: A day after the Mets drew a record-low crowd of 20,010 to
Citi Field, attendance was 25,446. … Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton
missed his third straight game because of a strained muscle in his
side. Guillen said Stanton also won’t play Saturday afternoon.
“He’s not a Spider-Man to be ready tomorrow,” Guillen said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)