Carlos Beltran is starting to look like the middle-of-the-lineup slugger that he once was, and that the Mets desperately need him to be again.
Beltran homered for the second time in this three-game series on Thursday -- a long fly ball into the left-field seats in the fifth inning, which turned a 3-2 Mets lead into what ended up being the final margin of victory, 5-2.
New York Mets
"I thought the home run really helped us," manager Terry Collins said. "[The Giants] were kinda creeping back in it, and I thought that home run really gave us a chance to take a deep breath and let Mike [Pelfrey] relax a little bit."
"I feel good," Beltran said. "Every time you contribute to help the team win offensively, defensively, it's a great feeling. And most importantly when you win."
The homer was Beltran's only hit of the game on Thursday -- nevertheless, he is still 8-for-21 (.381) with seven RBIs in the team's past five games.
Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that the 34-year-old Beltran, balky knees and all, has now been in the Mets' starting lineup for 19 straight games, since sitting out the first game of a doubleheader versus the Colorado Rockies on April 14.
"If you had told me that Carlos Beltran would have played as much as he's played right now, I'd have been surprised," Collins said. "I'm glad to have him out there."
Beltran is now batting .292 overall for the season, with five homers, 17 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .375. If he stays healthy and keeps performing this well at the plate, his name will come up in trade rumors about as often as Jose Reyes' name does.
In the meantime, he'll be trying to help lift the Mets out of the basement in the National League East. And his manager is delighted to have him.
"He's been only upfront since the day he walked into spring training," Collins said. "About maybe a week ago he just said, 'Look, put me in the lineup and I'll tell you when I can't play.' So we've done that. And he hasn't said a word, he's just gone out and swung the bat great and ran the bases great. I would say he's healthy. I would say he's very, very healthy."