Carlos Beltran broke out in a big way on Saturday night with two home runs to help the Mets snap a three-game losing streak with an 8-4 win over the Washington Nationals.
New York Mets
Beltran hit a two-run shot to left field in the first and followed that with a solo shot to left center in the fourth. It was his first multi-homer game since Sept. 26. (Four of his last eight multi-homer games came against the Nationals.)
Beltran entered the day hitting just .190.
Terry Collins nonetheless indicated Beltran will not start Sunday, as had been planned.
The Mets also came out of a mini-slump with runners in scoring position, finishing 4-for-14 in such situations on Saturday. They had gone just 1-for-17 in that situation in the previous two games.
Chris Capuano had a strong Citi Field debut. Making his first start with the Mets, Capuano allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings while striking out eight. Capuano was the first Mets starter in the last four games to reach the sixth inning. His eight Ks were his most since an August 2007 start for the Brewers, before he missed two seasons with elbow surgery.
Saturday was Capuano’s first April start since 2007. He missed the entire 2008 and 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery. He made a relief appearance with the Mets on April 3 in which he allowed one run on three hits in 2/3 of an inning.
Some Capuano highlights: he hit Michael Morse on the left knee cap to load the bases with one out in the third. But he wiggled out of trouble by getting Wilson Ramos on a swinging strikeout and Rick Ankiel on a pop-out to shallow left tracked down by Jose Reyes. He set the Nationals down in order in the first, fourth and sixth.
Some Capuano low-lights: The Mets handed him a 2-0 first inning lead that he coughed up in the top of the second when Danny Espinosa drilled a three-run homer to left. The Mets tied it on Beltran’s solo shot, but Capuano allowed a solo homer to Ian Desmond (his first of the season) in the fifth to put the Nats up, 4-3.
More game details:
New York Mets
• STOLEN GOODS: Jose Reyes walked in the first inning. It was his first free pass of the season. He then swiped his third bag of the season and scored on Beltran’s home run into the left field seats, which gave New York a 2-0 lead. He also had a two-run double in the eighth. Angel Pagan also swiped his fourth bag of the season following a seventh-inning walk.
• COMING THROUGH IN THE CLUTCH: Beltran’s first-inning homer broke the Mets’ 12 at-bat hitless streak with runners in scoring position.
The Mets finished 0-for-10 in Friday’s 6-2 loss in the Citi Field opener. They squandered six opportunities with a runner on second or third and less than two out. Terry Collins said his hitters may be pressing with runners on.
Capuano held the Nationals to 0-for-2 with the bases loaded on Saturday. Opponents are 5-for-13 with the bases loaded this season with 14 RBIs.
• K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez entered the game with two outs in the eighth. He got Matt Stairs to ground out to second with two runners on to end the eighth. He then walked the first two hitters in the ninth but got Jayson Werth to ground into a double play. He has two games finished in the Mets’ first eight games. K-Rod needs to finish 53 of the Mets’ final 154 games for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012. He also had his first major league at-bat, striking out with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth.
• PEN WRITES GOOD ENDING: Taylor Buchholz pitched a scoreless seventh. Bobby Parnell allowed the first two runners he faced in the eighth to reach base before striking out Ankiel and Espinosa. Parnell was relieved by Rodriguez, who got pinch-hitter Matt Stairs to ground out to second to end the eighth.
Both Parnell and Tim Byrdak combined to allow two hits, three walks and three runs in Friday’s 6-2 loss. Afterward, Terry Collins said he was worried that his bullpen was overtaxed after so much use in the season’s first seven games.
New York Mets
• RB-IKE: Ike Davis’ two-run triple in the sixth gave the Mets a 5-4 lead and marked the seventh time in eight games that Davis has driven in a run. Davis drove in David Wright and Beltran. Beltran reached on Jerry Hairston Jr.’s error in left. He let Beltran’s fly ball sail out of his reach, putting the Met right fielder on second and third with none out. Davis has nine RBI on the season.
• NEXT: Chris Young (1-0, 1.69 ERA) will make his first start at Citi Field when he faces Jason Marquis (0-0, 2.84) in the series finale.
Young earned his first win as a Met by beating the Phillies, 7-1, on April 5. He also became the first Mets pitcher to get three hits in a game since Tom Glavine on Aug. 11, 2005.
Will Young have success in Citi Field? He led the league in fly ball percentage (56.4 percent in 2006, 54.5 percent in 2007) his last two full seasons in the majors, according to fangraphs.com
He is 3-1 lifetime in four games against Washington with a 2.42 ERA. Adam LaRoche is hitting .167 (7 Ks) in 18 career at-bats against Young. Ryan Zimmerman is 3-for-11 (.273) with a homer and two strikeouts.
Mets starters have been struggling of late, throwing a combined 11 innings in their last three starts entering play on Saturday.
• LIVE BP FOR BAY? Jason Bay hit off of a tee on Saturday and is expected to take live batting practice on Sunday. Bay was eligible to come off of the disabled list on Saturday but will remain in Port St. Lucie to rehab his strained left rib cage.
• LEFT OUT: Catcher Josh Thole was out of the lineup against left-hander Tom Gorzelanny. Mike Nickeas started in his place. Collins said before the game that Thole would likely sit out against all left-handers once Ronny Paulino (anemia) returns from the lineup. Paulino’s 50-game suspension ended on Saturday. He is expected to be placed on the disabled list before Sunday’s game.