Mets snap skid with timely hitting, quality pitching

Mets snap skid with timely hitting, quality pitching

Mets snap skid with timely hitting, quality pitching

NEW YORK -- There was a time this season when Dillon Gee lost focus in the middle of games. He wasn't making his pitches, and hitters took advantage. In his last three starts, though, something's changed. No longer is his mind wandering, and no longer are hitters seeing pitches they can knock around the ballpark.

"That's what I've been focusing on," Gee said. "Just one pitch at a time, trying to execute each one and not getting ahead of myself."

In Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Cardinals, a team that has one of the best lineups in the National League and normally wears down pitchers, Gee was stellar. He threw 6 2/3 innings, giving up just one run on six hits and striking out seven. The Mets provided him with support, with Lucas Duda, David Wright and Marlon Byrd each hitting solo home runs.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and provided some signs of life in an otherwise trying stretch.

Going into the game, there didn't seem to be much that would go in the Mets' favor. Shelby Miller, who entered Wednesday with a 1.91 ERA and had 81 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings, is one of the best pitchers in the NL. The Cardinals had four hitters in their starting lineup with averages of at least .300.

Instead it was the Mets who had the power and the pitching.

Miller went six innings, giving up four runs on five hits. Although he had 10 strikeouts, the mistakes he made cost him and St. Louis.

"I felt like I pitched good, but I didn't pitch good enough to win," Miller said. "I simply got outpitched. Gee was good tonight. He was making good pitches. "

For the second night in a row, New York scored two runs in the first inning. Unlike Tuesday, though, the Mets continued to score through the rest of the game.

Wright hit a double into the gap in right-center in the first inning, and Daniel Murphy knocked him in with a single. Then, after Duda hit a single to right field, Carlos Beltran threw to second base instead of his cutoff man at first.

Beltran's mistake allowed Murphy to motor around third and score to give the Mets a two-run lead.

"That was a great read," Duda said. "Great job by Murph right there."

Duda, who's been scuffling at the plate, hit a solo home run into the right-field stands in the fifth inning. Two innings later, Wright crushed an offering from Miller to just about the deepest part of the park in center field.

And leading off the bottom of the seventh, Byrd hit a home run off reliever Seth Maness that just cleared the left-field wall.

The three home runs were an atypical display of power for a lineup that's been struggling. Even more surprising, though, was that the Mets broke out against Miller.

"[We were] able to jump on them early and just allow Dillon to go out there and pound the strike zone," Wright said. "The key is always good starting pitching, and we got that tonight."

The Cardinals could only muster up one run.

Allen Craig, who delivered a three-run homer in the Cardinals' 9-2 win on Tuesday, struck again with a home run into the left-field stands in the sixth. Yadier Molina followed with a double to left field, but Gee struck out David Freese and Jon Jay to end the inning.

Gee did that for much of the game. He bent but never broke. It was an impressive performance as he continues to pitch for his spot in the rotation with the impending promotion of Zack Wheeler.

Gee's last three starts have been exceptional, but they haven't come without pain. Gee said after Wednesday's game that he's been dealing with tendinitis in his forearm since Spring Training. Lately, though, it's gotten a little worse. He was examined by doctors and said the tendinitis can be managed.

Still, his strong outings of late are even more impressive. Manager Terry Collins said these are the types of performances the Mets expect from Gee.

"He had a little tendinitis and pitched great tonight," Collins said. "Ultimately, it didn't get any worse than it was, but I thought he pitched very, very well. I think he's back."

The Mets haven't been playing well lately. It's been a rough stretch that included a roster shuffle and the demotion of three players. On Wednesday, though, they had a break from those troubles.

They showed they're capable of putting together complete performances. It's just a matter of doing that consistently.

"We're not playing good, but we're hanging in there," Collins said. "If David continues to swing like he did tonight, and you know Dan's going to hit, and if Lucas gets hot, this is a whole different team."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.