Lucas Duda’s Two Homers Lead Mets to First Victory of 2014

Howard Goldin

Flushing, NY---A coterie of devoted Mets fans braved a cold wind and light rain on Friday evening to come to Citi Field to hopefully witness the first Mets win of the 2014 campaign. At 10:12 pm, they were rewarded as the Mets stopped the Reds, 4-3.

On Thursday evening, after the Mets third straight defeat, Mets skipper Terry Collins intimated that one of the Mets three first sackers would be given the starting job, perhaps for a limited time.

Collins gave details of the first base situation in a pregame conference with reporters Friday, “We want to see if Lucas Duda can be the first baseman. If he doesn’t do it or if we think he maybe doesn’t play it the way we want it played, then he becomes a guy that can go to other positions.”

 The decision was not a clear nod to Duda permanently holding the job. It was phrased more like an audition for Duda. Collins also mentioned that the other two first basemen, Ike Davis and Josh Satin, would see playing time.

Hitless in six official at bats against the Nationals, Duda performed superbly at the plate in his audition against the Reds. In the first frame, with two out, Duda walked to load the bases.

After Curtis Granderson singled to open the fourth for the Mets, Duda homered to right to put the Mets ahead, 2-1.

Two innings later, with David Wright on first after an infield single and one out, the 28 year-old hit his second home run to right, his fifth multi-home run game in the majors.

Although, he garnered all four runs batted in for the Mets, Duda spoke modestly after the game, “I just went out there to try to have some fun. I’m glad we got that win. Overall,[it was] a great team win tonight.”

Mets hurlers also contributed mightily to the win. JennryMejia who earned the fifth starting position with an excellent spring, pitched six innings, giving up only one run and four hits. The 24 year-old reached a career high by fanning eight batters.

Collins praised the young starter, “I think he pitched very well. The [weather] conditions were brutal. I thought he got us deep into the game, made pitches when he had to.”

The starter also mentioned the weather conditions, “It was pretty rough. Sometimes I couldn’t feel my fingers.”

Reliever John Lannan followed Mejia, but was pulled after yielding a two-run homer to Jay Bruce in the seventh. Bruce drove in all three runs for the Reds.

Veteran reliever Kyle Farnswothprevented any runs from scoring in 1.1 innings.

Jose Valverde, with 286 previously earned saves in the majors, earned his first save as a Met. The Dominican native took the closer position after Bobby Parnell was placed on the disabled list after game #1.

Game #2 of the three game set on Saturday afternoon will feature right handers Dillon Gee (Mets) and Johnny Cueto (Reds).

Howardg53@yahoo.co