Stellar Gee cruises as Mets step up with bats

Stellar Gee cruises as Mets step up with bats

Stellar Gee cruises as Mets step up with bats
NEW YORK -- Redemption struck three times Friday for an offense that sorely needed it. The Mets, one of just two big league teams with a winning record despite being outscored by the opposition, saw three of their slumping hitters break out with a big hit en route to a 6-1 win over the Padres.

Lucas Duda, who hadn't homered in nearly a month, led the charge by breaking that drought in the second inning, and Daniel Murphy snapped an 0-for-15 skid with an RBI double in the fifth. Ike Davis, who came into the night hitting .164, added a two-run single.

Those hits, as unlikely as they may have seemed, came on a night when David Wright went hitless, and manager Terry Collins said they were key in lifting the Mets to their third win in four games.

"David's going to have a tremendous season, but there's going to be nights that the other team is going to say, 'Somebody else is going to beat us,'" Collins said. "That's the important part of getting Lucas going, whether it's hitting home runs or just being the hitter we know he can be. Same with Ike. Same with Dan Murphy. Dan Murphy is hitting fifth, because he's a good hitter. And we need those guys behind David, because there's going to be nights where they're just not going to give him anything to hit."

The victory was the Mets' fifth by at least five runs, and it allowed them to close to -30 in run differential for the season. The Mets had scored more than six runs just four times in 23 games this month prior to Friday night, and the five-run margin of victory was their second-largest in May.

Starter Dillon Gee was the recipient of that support, and he won back-to-back starts for the first time all year while registering a career-high nine strikeouts. Gee doubled and scored the go-ahead run on offense, but more importantly, he worked seven innings and held San Diego to four hits.

"That's what I want to be: A consistent guy that you know what you're going to get every night out," Gee said. "I really haven't been that guy, and it really gets under my skin. That's what I want to pride myself on: Going out there every five days and giving the guys a quality start and a chance to win."

Gee, who won five straight starts and eight straight decisions at one point last year, got a key assist from Mike Baxter on Friday. Baxter tracked back and made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Jesus Guzman in the first inning, and the Mets used a strong relay throw to turn it into a 7-6-3 double play.

That play -- which occurred with one out and runners on first and third -- was the game's first swing in fortune. Will Venable scored on the flyout, and Yonder Alonso may have moved all the way to third if Baxter hadn't made the catch. This time, San Diego's rally was squelched by the double play.

"I think it changed it quite a bit," said Collins of the game's momentum. "It held them to one run in the inning instead of a multirun inning. I think it lifted Dillon and everybody else."

"Luckily, it stayed in the park and he made a great play," said Gee. "Mentally, it gives me a break. Knowing that I was in trouble that inning -- I had already given up one run -- and for him to have a play like that and get me out of the inning was huge. It gave me confidence going the rest of the game."

Duda, who hadn't homered since April 28, evened the game in the second inning. One inning later, Gee helped prime the winning rally by doubling over the head of left fielder Guzman, and he came around to score on a double by Baxter. Baxter, in turn, scored on a one-out hit by Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

San Diego starter Anthony Bass trailed by two runs when the fifth inning began, and the Mets put together a two-out rally to extend their lead. Murphy, who had just one hit in his previous six games, doubled in one run, and Davis followed with his two-run single to give the Mets a five-run lead.

"I'm a lot better player than I've showed. It's just what I'm supposed to do," said Davis, who also had two RBIs Thursday. "The last two games have been nice to actually help the team do something. It was nice to get the knock today, and hitting a curveball up the middle, I haven't done that in a while."

The Marlins -- who have scored five fewer runs than their opponents -- are the only other team in the Major Leagues that has managed a winning record while being outscored. The Mets have the third-largest run differential in the National League, trailing only the Cubs (-47) and Padres (-42).

Both of those teams have losing records, but the Mets have been better than their scores would indicate. And for Collins, that's just another reminder of how far his players have come.

"When you come from my background in player development, you always root for the guys to get to the big leagues. You want your guys to get up there," said Collins. "And then you see these guys come through this organization where they've played together, and they're finally up here and they enjoy being around each other so much. They play the game correctly. They play the game hard."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.